Chikungunya virus results in numerous difficult disorders, from neurological to rheumatic and beyond. It swept into the Caribbean in 2013 and Central America thereafter. An epidemic soon followed with over 1,000,000 cases occurring within one year.

Chikungunya shares some clinical signs with dengue such as fever, severe joint pain, muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue as well as rash, and can be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is common.

Chikungunya, like Zika and dengue, has also resulted in a number of neurologic diseases such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, meningoencephalitis, and cranial nerve palsies. The virus has also been associated with rheumatic disorders including rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthritis, and undifferentiated polyarthritis. Other serious complications of chikungunya that are rare include myocarditis, ocular disease (uveitis, retinitis), acute renal disease, and severe bulbous lesions.

Transmission of chikungunya during birth can result in complications for the baby, including neurologic disease, hemorrhagic symptoms, and myocardial disease. After maternal chikungunya infection, there have been rare reports of spontaneous abortions.


Until recently, chikungunya occurred mainly in Africa, Asia and the Indian subcontinent. In recent decades, mosquito vectors of chikungunya have spread to Europe and the Americas. In 2007, disease transmission was reported for the first time in a localized outbreak in north-eastern Italy. During the outbreak, there were 254 suspected and 78 laboratory-confirmed cases including one death. In December 2013 the first case was reported in the Caribbean and within 12 months there was an estimated 1 million cases in the region according to the CDC.

Chikungunya has been identified in over 60 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. Within the United States, chikungunya virus disease became a nationally notifiable condition to the CDC in 2015.


There is no available vaccine or specific medication for the virus, so mosquito control is vital.

Further information

WHO chikungunya factsheet

CDC: chikungunya