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Chikungunya Virus: About

Chikungunya is an illness spread by the bite of infected Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes.

Cases of chikungunya in Wisconsin residents occur in people who have traveled to countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Indian and Pacific Oceans, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Chikungunya virus is very rarely spread in the U.S., however, there are a few small areas where the species of mosquitoes that spread the virus are common.

Anyone who travels to areas where chikungunya virus is spread can get the illness, but people who spend more time outdoors are at a higher risk of being bitten by an infected mosquito. It is important to take preventive steps when traveling to areas with chikungunya virus, such as wearing protective clothing, using insect repellents, and using mosquito netting. For more tips, please visit our Mosquito Bite Prevention page and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travelers' Health page.

 

Chikungunya virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.
  • Mosquitoes get infected with chikungunya by feeding on humans that have been infected with the virus.
    • After feeding on an infected human, the virus may end up inside of the mosquito.
    • Once it has the virus, a mosquito may spread the virus to uninfected humans when it takes another blood meal.
  • The mosquitoes that spread chikungunya are most active during the daytime. Peak biting hours are early in the morning and in the evening before dusk.
  • It is possible for a mother to spread chikungunya to her child around the time of birth, though this is rare. Chikungunya virus is not spread through breastfeeding.

Chikungunya is preventable. Visit our Mosquito Bite Prevention page to learn how to prevent mosquito bites.

Symptoms can show up one to 12 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

Most people who are infected with chikungunya will develop symptoms. The most common symptoms are high fever (typically 102°F or higher) and joint pain, which can be severe. Symptoms usually go away in seven to 10 days. Some people may have recurring joint pain months after illness onset, but this is rare. Severe illness can occur in babies who got the illness during birth from a mother infected with chikungunya, older adults (65 and older), and people with chronic medical conditions. Death is rare and mostly occurs in older adults.

Common signs and symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Myalgia (muscle aches)
  • Arthritis (joint swelling )
  • Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Rash

 

There is currently no treatment or vaccine for chikungunya. Over-the-counter pain relievers may help relieve symptoms. In severe cases, patients may need to be hospitalized to receive supportive treatment. If you believe you or a family member may have chikungunya virus, contact your doctor.

  • Mosquito Bites Are Bad: An educational activity book from the CDC for kids about preventing illnesses spread by mosquitoes.
  • Chikungunya Virus Fact Sheet: Educational fact sheet from the CDC for the general public on chikungunya virus covering signs and symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
Chikungunya is preventable. Visit our Mosquito Bite Prevention page to learn how to protect yourself from chikungunya and other illnesses spread by mosquitoes.

Questions about illnesses spread by mosquitoes? Contact us!
Phone: 608-267-9003 | Fax: 608-261-4976

Last revised June 15, 2022