Chikungunya is virus transmitted to people by mosquitoes. The most common symptoms of chikungunya virus infection are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. Outbreaks have occurred in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In late 2013, chikungunya virus was found for the first time in the Americas on islands in the Caribbean. Chikungunya is not currently found in the continental United States but there is a risk that the virus will be imported to new areas by infected travelers. There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat chikungunya virus infection.
Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites. When traveling to countries with chikungunya virus, use repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens.
The mosquitoes that can carry chikungunya virus are not currently found in Maine. However, these mosquitoes are present in a large area of the United States.
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Resources for Physicians
HETL is capable of testing for chikungunya virus by real time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in both serum and Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF). PCR should only be used in individuals who have had an onset within the last 8-10 days. If a patient has been ill for longer than 10 days, serology is the best testing method.
Other Vector-borne Diseases
- Eastern Equine Encephalitis
- Lyme Disease
- West Nile Virus