Chikungunya Virus

Virus Overview


Chikungunya virus is a pathogen transmitted by mosquitoes, and has established itself in the Caribbean.

The mosquito species that transmit this disease are the Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus) and the Yellow Fever Mosquito (Aedes aegypti). Both species lay their eggs in containers such as cans, discarded tires and other items that hold water close to human habitation, but Ae. aegypti is more geographically confined to the southeastern United States.


The name "Chikungunya" is attributed to the Kimakonde (a Mozambique dialect) word meaning "that which bends up," which describes the primary symptom - excruciating joint pain. Although rarely fatal, the symptoms are debilitating and may persist for several weeks.


Traditional mosquito methods of truck-mounted and aerial sprays are ineffective in controlling these mosquitoes. Removal of water-bearing containers and sanitation are key preventive strategies.


Approximately 350,000 suspected cases in the Western Hemisphere have been reported since December 2013. Chikungunya virus has now resulted in 2 cases of locally-transmitted Chikungunya virus in Florida in July of 2014. As of July 22, 2014, 497 travel-related cases have been found in 35 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.