Chikungunya fever is a viral illness caused by “chikungunya virus”. It was reported to cause disease in humans in 1952 following an outbreak on Makonde Plateau, a place in Africa. Following the epidemic in 1952 several chikungunya fever epidemics have been reported from several countries in Africa, Asia, and other parts of the world. The first chikungunya fever epidemic was reported from India in 1963, in Kolkata. Since then several epidemics have occurred in different parts of the country.
Current research on chikungunya fever is focused on developing vaccine against chikungunya fever, vector control (aedes mosquito), research on the extent of the problem of chikungunya fever, and study of the virus. A vaccine is being developed in the USA but it is still in experimental stage. It has been successfully tested in experimental animals (monkeys and mice). The vaccine has virus like materials which stimulates the immune system to develop antibodies, but further studies are needed before it will be licensed for human use. Research is also being done on the cause of persistent joint pain (arthralgias) and medications such as anti-virals, which can effectively treat the disease.
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