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Chikungunya Fever


Chikungunya can cause a fever and intense joint pains. It is caused by the Chikungunya virus and is spread by mosquito bites.

Recommendations for Travellers

The best way to avoid infection is to prevent mosquito bites. The mosquitoes that transmit chikungunya bite during the day, from sunrise until sunset.

You should follow mosquito bite avoidance measures, including:

Use of insect repellents

  • Repellents containing ‘DEET’ are recommended.
  • Repellent should be applied between sunrise and sunset to all exposed areas of skin, and reapplied as suggested by the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • You should apply your sunscreen first and then put on insect repellent.

Wear the right type of clothing

  • Long, loose fitting clothing reduces the amount of exposed skin that can be bitten.

Use a mosquito net

  • Sleeping or resting under a net protects you from being bitten.

Reduce mosquitoes around your accommodation

See the Mosquito bite avoidance page for further information.

You must seek medical attention if you develop any feverish illness whilst travelling, or on your return home.

Overview of the Disease

Chikungunya is spread by the bite of Aedes species of mosquito. These predominantly bite during the day, from sunrise until sunset.

Chikungunya fever occurs in more than 100 countries in Africa, Asia, North, South and Central America, the Caribbean and Pacific islands.

It has occasionally occurred in Italy and France but the infection has not become common in Europe.

The Illness

Symptoms start 4 to 8 days after the mosquito bite. 

A high temperature (fever) is often accompanied by intense joint pains. 

  • A rash, headache, feeling tired (fatigued), feeling sick (nausea) and muscle pains may also occur.

The illness usually gets better over a few days or a week and serious complications are uncommon. 

Ongoing joint pains may continue in some people for weeks to months or longer.


There is no specific treatment for chikungunya virus infection.

Symptoms like fever, joint pain and headache can be treated with painkillers. Ongoing joint pains often need anti-inflammatory medications and assessment by a doctor specialising in joints.

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