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Chikungunya - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Chikunguniya?

Chikungunya is a disease which is best described as a mosquito borne viral disease. It is characterized by a sudden onset of fever accompanied by joint pain. The joint pain is debilitating, but it can usually lasts for few days to weeks. This virus can cause chronic, subacute and acute diseases. Chikungunya can cause gastrointestinal, heart related and neurological complications. In older people, this virus can also cause death. Chikungunya is often misdiagnosed with dengue as the symptoms are somewhat similar. The only difference between chikungunya and dengue is that, the former can circulate with cattle, birds and monkeys, but dengue can only spread through mosquito bites.

How is it transmitted?

Chikungunya is mostly prevalent in America, Europe, Africa and Asia. This virus can be transmitted from human to human by female mosquitoes bites. The mosquito species involved is called Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti. These mosquitoes can be found in daylight hours but they are more prevalent in the late afternoon. These species usually feed outdoors but Aedes aegypti usually feed indoors. The symptoms of chikungunya can prolong for 3 to 6 months.


A test called IgM titers is used to diagnose chikungunya. This test usually measures the rising concentration or level of antibodies in the blood. This quantifies the response of the body to fight an active infection. A blood test called RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) is performed. If this test is not available, the specialist usually tests the number of leucocytes present in the blood due to viral infection. The blood count is constantly monitored. If it drops down suddenly it is safe to be under close medical observation.


Once a person is affected with chikungunya, he/she is given a lot of fluids to avoid dehydration. There is no vaccination yet for chikungunya, but painkillers are given to heal joint pain. sometimes, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are prescribed which are not aspirin based. Antipyretics and analgesic drugs are also taken to reduce the symptoms of chikungunya. If you live in a mosquito inefested or a tropical area which faces rainfall most of the times, it is better to take proper precautions to avoid mosquito bites. This can be done by cleaning up pools or stagnant water where the mosquitoes can breed, utilizing mosquito nets, closing the windows of your house in the evening, using mosquito repellent creams and wearing full body covering clothing.

Treatable by medical professional Require medical diagnosis Lab test not required Short-term: resolves within days to weeks Non communicable
Joint pain Fever Headache and muscle pain Rashes can develop throughout your body Joint swelling

Popular Health Tips

What Are The Symptoms Of Chikungunya?

MBBS, MD - Internal Medicine
General Physician, Jaipur
What Are The Symptoms Of Chikungunya?

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to people by the bite of an infectious mosquito known as Aedes Aegypti. The chikungunya infection is most prevalent in Africa, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent and Indian Ocean islands, where various incidents of these disease and certain outbreaks have occurred over the years.

Humans and different animals are the regular hosts for the chikungunya virus, which can turn out to be very painful if it is not treated on time with proper medical care and intervention. The virus is spread to people by the bite of a female mosquito called Aedes aegypti or Aedes Albopictus. These are the same tropical and sub-tropical mosquitoes that spread the dengue virus. They breed in or close to human habitations and want to feed on people during the daytime in shady zones. These are likely to bite you at during the early hours of the evening or at night. The hatching time frame (time from disease to sickness) can be anywhere between two to 12 days.

Symptoms: Chikungunya infection is characterised by the following symptoms:

  1. High or blazing fever
  2. Extreme joint pain for the most part in the arms and legs
  3. Headache
  4. Pain in the muscle
  5. Pain in the back
  6. Body ache
  7. Rash (in about 50% of the infected people)

A vast majority begins to feel better following 7 to 10 days but a few people will go through longer term joint pain.


  1. There is no particular medicine to prevent chikungunya. There is no antibiotic that can help in doing away with it - it usually abates on its own. Chikungunya treated on the basis of a patient's symptoms. However, there are some precautions and alternate medications that can be used as a cure.
  2. Bed rest, liquids, and medication to soothe side effects of fever and hurting. Asprin should be avoided.
  3. Personal protection and a hygienic environment is important to prevent the growth of the illness.

Since this virus does not have a vaccine or any particular medicine, one should try to stay away from mosquitos as much as possible. Covering yourself up while travelling, especially in the evening is the best approach to prevent it.

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Is Chikungunya Causing You Joint Pain? Manage It With Ayurveda!

Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS), MD-Ayurveda
Ayurveda, Delhi
Is Chikungunya Causing You Joint Pain? Manage It With Ayurveda!

Mosquitoes, though tiny, can wreak havoc on the human health. Malaria and dengue were common enough, but now another disease doing the rounds is chikungunya. This is a viral disease that spreads by the bites of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The disease lasts for 5 to 7 days. Also, even though the weather is changing, it is still prevalent and as on November 18, 878 cases have been reported in Delhi itself. 

Symptoms of chikungunya are very non-indicative and include high temperature, rashes and multiple spots on the body, multiple joint pains, headaches, conjunctivitis and insomnia. The presence of joint pains associated with a high incidence of mosquito breeding is indicative of chikungunya. The fever usually subsides in a couple of days, but the other symptoms would persist for about a week.

Management of chikungunya includes a combination of prevention and treatment. Prevention is more important than treatment as it is easier done.

  1. To the maximum extent possible, avoid mosquito bites.
  2. Avoid using rainwater-filled containers, potted plants that stagnate water and drinking bowls for domestic animals.
  3. Wear full-sleeved clothing when mosquito bites are likely to be higher.
  4. Use mosquito repellents in the forms of coils, creams, and mats
  5. Use mosquito nets where possible
  6. Prevent mosquito breeding by draining possible areas of water stagnation

Treatment: There is no specific allopathic remedy for the treatment of chikungunya. The prescribed medicines are only for symptomatic relief, and given the intense and prolonged joint pains, the patient ends up using a lot of painkillers. There are cases where the pains may persist for up to 6 months. This is where Ayurveda comes into the picture, as there are multiple effective remedies that have been proven effective over the ages.

  1. Massage your joints with a mixture of castor oil, drumstick, camphor, garlic, and coconut oil. This oil can be heated and stored in a glass jar for about 3 days. Warm this oil and use it for effective relief of the joint pains.
  2. A mixture of castor oil and cinnamon can also be used to massage the painful joints.
  3. A concoction of ajwain seeds, raisins or dry grapes, tulsi leaves, and neem leaves boiled in water is an effective remedy for the joint pains. This is to be used when it is warm after food and the residual ingredients chewed upon.
  4. A diet rich in fresh fruits, greens and vegetables is recommended.
  5. Drinking sufficient amounts of liquids (water, coconut water, lime juice, and buttermilk) to keep good hydration levels and recuperate from the illness.
  6. Ensure sufficient rest for the joints even after the initial fever has subsided.

Ayurveda has references to something called “sandhijwara” which is “fever of the joints”. Sandhijwara is very similar to chikungunya and these remedies used for this can be very useful in treating chikungunya.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

4437 people found this helpful

Dengue And Chikungunya - Prevention by Ayurveda Medicine Is Possible!

MD - Ayurveda, Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS), DY ( Yoga & Ayurvedic Diet ), CCYP ( Yoga & Ayurvedic Diet )
Ayurveda, Ghaziabad
Dengue And Chikungunya - Prevention by Ayurveda Medicine Is Possible!

Thousands of our clients (all over india) are doing it for their family for last many years - as soon as the rain starts, they start giving a small dose of our precious authentic combination to their family ( from 01 year old child upto 70 years old members) for 01-02 months - & as a result they dont get trapped by these formidable dengue & chikungunya (in 80% cases) & the rest 20%, if get trapped, come out of it in a much shorter duration without much complication. Joint pain & other complications are easily handled by some more ayurveda medicines.

The medicine has an additional value of improving your digestion & detoxifying your body.

Its better to start the medicine as early as possible to keep your family healthy in this rainy season.

2 people found this helpful

Chikungunya - How It Affects Your Body?

General Physician, Gurgaon
Chikungunya  - How It Affects Your Body?

The mosquito may seem a very small creature, but can be deadly as they spread quite a few severe infections, with chikungunya being one of them. The disease got its name from an African language, which means to walk bent over.

Chikungunya is a viral disease that is carried by specific varieties of infected mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus). It was originally confused for dengue, which is another mosquito-transmitted infection, but then called out as a separate disease. Both diseases start off with non-diagnostic symptoms including fever, rashes, fatigue, anaemia and headache. Dengue could be distinguished by the lowered platelet count, while the persistent joint pains and eye pain could be the distinguishing factor for the chikungunya.

The mosquito is the vector, which picks up the virus from one infected person and spreads it to another person. The virus does not spread directly from one person to the other. Once it reaches the blood stream, it multiplies in the body, and over a period of 1 to 12 days, the symptoms begin to appear.

Symptoms: The symptoms of chikungunya are listed below, which reflect the effects on the body.
The symptoms are generally nondiagnostic and generic including fever, rashes, joint pain, muscle aches, eye pain, fatigue, tiredness, lethargy, headaches, nausea and vomiting. The eye pain which occurs behind the eyes and the joint pains are the indicative symptoms, which point to chikungunya. In fact, the joint pains make the patient assume a stooped posture, and that is where the name chikungunya was originally derived from.

Most of the above symptoms subside over a period of 10 to 15 days but the joint pain continues. In fact, in many, it can continue to exist for months and even years and eventually develop into rheumatoid arthritis.
Though chikungunya is not a fatal disease by itself, it can produce long-term symptoms which can be severely disabling and affect the quality of life.

Anybody who is bitten by the infected mosquito can develop the disease, but there are some groups of people at a higher risk. These include newborns, the elderly people, and people with chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and chronic heart disease.

However, once infected, the person develops immunity and future infections do not happen unless their immunity is severely compromised.

Treatment: There is no specific treatment, and symptom relief is provided through rest, hydration, pain killers for joint and muscle, antipyretics for fever, and avoiding aspirin.
While there is no vaccine for chikungunya, preventing exposure to mosquito bites when you are travelling and preventing mosquito breeding and reducing exposure to mosquitoes by using repellents and nets are advisable.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

6729 people found this helpful

5 Ways You Can Get Rid of Mosquitoes

MBBS, Post Graduate Diploma in Diabetology (PGDD)
General Physician, Chennai
5 Ways You Can Get Rid of Mosquitoes

With a number of virus and other mosquito borne disease threats looming in, such as dengue, chikungunya, malaria and other deadly diseases. The number of cases are on the rise throughout the country, there has been an alarming rise is the use of market bought mosquito repellents. While they are no doubt, very effective, but they also emit gases which can be harmful to us. There exist in our homes, commodities with which we can achieve the same results - to have a mosquito-free home. Few such ways are as follows:

1. Though it might smell bad initially, it is also the reason why mosquitoes will stay away. Crush a few pods of garlic, boil it in water and spray the liquid in the room, especially in the corners.

2. Camphor is easily available and good way to get rid of mosquitoes. Light a little bit of camphor in a room after closing all doors and windows. Leave the room for about twenty minutes and when you go back, your room will be mosquito free.

3. Infuse citronella oil in a candle and burn the candle to have a mosquito free room. Alternatively, you can use the oil in a vaporizer.

4. If you have a garden, plant mosquito repellent plants like lavender, catnip and citronella in the areas near the windows of your house to drive the mosquitoes away.

5. Get rid of all stored water within and around your house. These waters are breeding grounds for mosquitoes. If you need to store water for the unexpected shortage of water, make sure that you keep changing it. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a General Physician.

4749 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

Caught by chikungunya last July 2016/but too much joint pain still der along wid too much stiffness ,vit d ,thyroid, crp CBC ,uric acid all test done and all normal report ,allopathy give nsaid ,I waz taking it since 2 months no relief ,homeo not helped ,I m confused wat to do wat will help me.

MBBS, DNB - Orthopedics, Fellowship In Arthroscopy & Sports Medicine
Orthopedist, Bangalore
You need to rule out arthritis. There is something called Sero positive and Sero negative arthritis. That's what has to be checked. Contact for further explanation. Its too much to explain in this short place.

Hello Dr! My mother had suffered from chikungunya about 2 months ago but still she have severe joints pain mostly in feet and sometime swelling appears on hand and foots. please suggest what to do.

FRHS, Ph.D Neuro , MPT - Neurology Physiotherapy, D.Sp.Med, DPHM (Health Management ), BPTh/BPT
Physiotherapist, Chennai
Do Take IFT and vacuum Therapy Physiotherapy treatment for pain relief for 12 days followed by strengthening exercise from physiotherapist Best wishes.

What are the symptoms for chikungunya? What are the precautions for this disease?

General Physician, Mumbai
Dear lybrateuser, - Symptoms of chickengunya can include high fever, joint pain which can last for months, headache, weakness, sometimes nausea & vomiting - precautions are to maintain hygiene & sanitation around the house - apply mosquito repellant cream on exposed parts of the body - wear full sleeve shirts & trousers when moving out of house - use mosquito repellant mats & coils - prevent stagnation of water around house.
1 person found this helpful

In 2012 I suffered from chikungunya. From then till now their is swelling in my whole body. A kind of swelling that is visible during one part of a day and invisible on other half day. My weight has also increased a lot. And I got hemorrhoids and fisher last year but now cured. So please suggest me homeopathy / ayurvedic medicine to get rid of my swelling permanently?

MD - Homeopathy, BHMS
Homeopath, Vadodara
Hello... it is not possible to suggest proper homoeopathic medicine from the details given by you.... it will need more details... You can consult in case you want proper treatment.. Till then you may take Nux Vomica 30 one dose..