Chikungunya (pronunciation: chik-en-gun-ye) virus is 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. 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 insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens.
Whereas mosquito-based surveillance is the preferred method for monitoring or predicting West Nile virus outbreaks, it is not the preferred method for monitoring or predicting Chikungunya outbreaks. It is more efficient to detect cases in people. Chikungunya is a nationally notifiable condition meaning health care providers are required to report any confirmed or suspect cases to local and state health departments.
If the City of Richardson receives a confirmed human case of the Chikungunya virus, targeted control efforts will be implemented. Some measures the City will take include intensified larval and adult mosquito control in a 150 yard radius (or other boundary as deemed appropriate) around the case patient home. The goal of control efforts will be the significant reduction of the mosquito population in the 150 yard radius reducing the possibility of the Chikungunya virus spreading.
The virus is spread by bites from infected Aedes mosquitoes. If a person is infected and bitten by a mosquito, that mosquito may later spread the virus by biting another person.
These mosquitoes can be identified by the white stripes on their black bodies and legs. They are aggressive daytime biters, with peak feeding activity at dawn and dusk.
- Sudden onset of high fever (>102°F)
- Severe joint pain mainly in the arms and legs
- Muscle pain
- Back pain
- Rash (~50 percent of cases)
Symptoms appear on average of three to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Most patients feel better after a few days or weeks. Some people may develop long-term pain.
Complications are rare, but more common in:
- Infants (<1 year)
- Elderly (>65 years)
- People with other chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, etc.
There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Chikungunya virus. If you believe you have Chikungunya, prevent mosquito bites for the first week of your illness. During the first week of infection, Chikungunya virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to a mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.
Treat the Symptoms
- Get plenty of rest.
- Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Take medicine such as acetaminophen/paracetamol (Tylenol®) 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 health care provider before taking additional medication.
AVOID MOSQUITO BITES! The following will help reduce your chances of being bitten:
- Drain standing water
- Dress in long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- Use mosquito repellent on exposed skin including: DEET, picaridin, IR3535 and oil of lemon eucalyptus.
The City practices integrated mosquito control with the intent to disrupt the mosquito life cycle in its early stages to eliminate the number of adults and mosquito breeding habitats through proper water drainage. Mosquito control activities are conducted year-round but are increased from April through October, the most active mosquito season in North Texas.
How to Protect Yourself
Follow the Four D's of protection:
- DRAIN standing water around the home
- Use insect repellent containing DEET
- Avoid being outdoors at DUSK and DAWN
- DRESS to protect yourself with long sleeves and pants