Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Treatment

Symptoms

  • Most people infected with chikungunya virus will develop some symptoms.
  • Symptoms usually begin 3–7 days after an infected mosquito bites you.
  • The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain.
  • Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.
  • Death from chikungunya is rare.
  • Most patients feel better within a week. However, joint pain can be severe and disabling and may persist for months.
  • People at risk for more severe disease include newborns infected around the time of birth, older adults (≥65 years), and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease.
  • Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.

Diagnosis

  • See your healthcare provider if you have visited an area where chikungunya is found and have symptoms described above. Tell your healthcare provider when and where you traveled.
  • Your healthcare provider might order blood tests to look for chikungunya or other similar viruses like dengue and Zika.
  • To learn more about testing, visit our Healthcare Providers page.

Treatment

  • There is currently no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat chikungunya.
  • Treat the symptoms:
    • Get plenty of rest.
    • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
    • Take medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or paracetamol to reduce fever and pain.
    • Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of bleeding.
    • If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.
  • If you have chikungunya, prevent mosquito bites for the first week of your illness.
    • During the first week of illness, chikungunya virus can be found in the blood. The virus can be passed from an infected person to a mosquito through mosquito bites.
    • An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.
  • To learn more about treatment, visit our Healthcare Providers page.