Chikungunya is a virus spread to people from the bite of an infected mosquito, most commonly the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Aedes albopictus has been found in many counties in West Virginia. Over 70 countries have reported local transmission of the virus, including many islands in the Caribbean and countries in South America. Other countries have also reported travel-associated cases.
Chikungunya is characterized by sudden onset of fever and joint pain. Other common symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. Eye, neurological, and heart complications have been reported, as well as gastrointestinal complaints. People with chikungunya virus usually get better in 7-10 days, but chikungunya virus can be severe and disabling for several months in some cases.
The symptoms of chikungunya virus are similar to those of Dengue fever, another viral disease spread by the same species of mosquitoes and is also found in many of the same countries where chikungunya virus is found. If you have traveled recently, let your healthcare provider know so that blood tests to look for chikungunya virus, Dengue fever or other similar diseases can be ordered.