WiRED International Prepares Module on Chikungunya Virus


ver heard of the Chikungunya virus? Most people haven't, yet more than a million people in the Western Hemisphere have caught it. This past summer the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the first U.S. case of Chikungunya in Florida.


Chikungunya Virus



Symptoms appear between four and seven days after the patient has been bitten by the infected mosquito and these include:

  • High fever (40°C/104°F)
  • Joint pain (lower back, ankle, knees, wrists or phalanges)
  • Joint swelling
  • Rash
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

Quick Facts

  • There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Chikungunya virus infection.
  • Recovery depends on rest, fluids and time.
  • Preventing mosquito bites is key.
  • Prevention includes using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants, and staying in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens and mosquito netting.
  • Although rarely fatal, Chikungunya can be dangerous to newborns and the elderly and people with medical conditions such as pneumonia, diabetes or cardiac disease.
  • Symptoms last for 2 to 3 days. The virus remains in the human system for 5 to 7 days, and mosquitoes feeding on an infected person during this period can also become infected. Chikungunya shares some clinical signs with dengue and can be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is common.

Source: CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/

Cited recently by the Huffington Post and Time magazine, Chikungunya is suddenly on the media’s radar. Already WiRED International’s goal to respond to disease outbreak has spurred the creation of a rapid response health education module on Chikungunya—to be released in late January.


Chikungunya (chik-en-gun-ye) was first identified in early 1952 on the Makonde Plateau—a border area between Mozambique and Tanzania. Similar to but distinct from dengue, Chikungunya has caused periodic outbreaks in Asia and Africa since the 1960s. The CDC reports that as of January 9, 2015, local transmission has been identified in 42 countries or territories in the Caribbean, Central America, South America, or North America. A total of 1,094,661 suspected and 26,606 laboratory-confirmed Chikungunya cases have been reported from these areas.


According to the World Health Organization, Chikungunya is a viral disease (genus Alphavirus) that is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. The name originates from a verb in the Kimakonde African language, meaning to become contorted or bent up. This refers to the stooped appearance of those suffering with joint pain.


Most patients recover fully, but in some cases joint pain may persist for several months or even years. Occasional cases of eye, neurological and heart complications have been reported, as well as gastrointestinal complaints. Serious complications are not common, but Chikungunya endangers newborns and the elderly, and can contribute to causes of death. Often symptoms in infected individuals are mild, and the infection may go unrecognized, or be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue occurs.


Whether the threat is Chikungunya, Ebola, Polio or a wide range of non-communicable diseases, WiRED International continues its mission to provide cutting-edge information to people around the world through the expansion and free distribution of our Community Health Education e-library.