What is Chikungunya Fever?
Chikungunya fever (Chik) is a viral infection transmitted to humans by biting Aedes mosquitoes (A. aegypti, A. albopictus and A. polynesiensis). These are tropical and subtropical mosquitoes found in the warmer parts of the world (especially Asia) and the United States and the Mediterranean Basin. Chikungunya fever is caused by the Chikungunya virus, an Alphavirus, and a member of the Togaviridae family.
Chikungunya fever is commonly found in East Africa, Southeast Asia and in the Indian sub-continent. In summer 2007, an outbreak was reported in the Emilia-Romagna region of North-East Italy, and this region is now considered an area where Chikungunya virus transmission takes place.
Below is the warning as issued by the HPSC or you can click on the links at the bottom of the page for further info...
- This is the first documented autochthonous transmission of chikungunya virus in the Americas. The outbreak started on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin in early December 2013 and expanded through the Caribbean during the first half of 2014. Recently, suspected autochthonous cases have been reported from Central America (Costa Rica and El Salvador), raising concern about virus spread in continental America where Aedes aegypti is endemic.
- Exposure to infected mosquitoes is the principal risk for infection in currently affected areas. Prevention of chikungunya among travellers and local residents is essentially based on personal protection against mosquito bites and vector control; these are the same as the preventive measures to be taken against dengue.
- With the present holiday season in Europe, high vigilance must be maintained regarding imported cases of chikungunya and dengue in the EU, including awareness among clinicians and travel clinics, notably in those EU areas where competent vectors are present.
- Travellers returning from outbreak areas should seek medical care if presenting with chikungunya compatible symptoms and apply personal protection measures to avoid mosquito bites. Such measures will reduce the risk of viral introduction in the European mosquito population and furthermore limit the establishment of a local cycle of transmission during the summer season.
- Preparedness regarding chikungunya in the EU includes strengthened surveillance systems and rapid notification of cases; review of contingency plans for mosquito-borne outbreaks; education and collaboration of the general public in the control of mosquito breeding sites; strengthened vector surveillance systems and rapid implementation of vector control measures around each case.