Chikungunya is a viral disease which is transmitted by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. It is a debilitating, but non-fatal disease, and the symptoms are similar to dengue fever. The symptoms of chikungunya disease are fever, severe and persistent joint pain, body rash, and headache. In some cases the joint pains can persist for a long time and complete recovery may even take months. The immunity after the infection usually lasts life long, hence re-infection is very rare.
Chikungunya disease was first reported in 1952 from Makonde Plateau a place in Africa. The name "chikungunya" is derived from the Makonde language which means "that which bends up" based on the symptom due to which the patient walks stooped down due to joint pain.
Chikungunya outbreaks occur every 7-8 years and between 1960 and 1980 several outbreaks were reported from Asia and Africa. In the recent years, regular outbreaks have been reported from countries in Asia such as India, Indonesia, Maldives and Thailand. Several cases were reported from Delhi in 2010. As the disease is non-fatal most chikungunya infections go unreported. Besides this as the symptoms are similar to dengue fever it is often misdiagnosed. So probably the numbers of cases of chikungunya fever are in fact much higher than that reported.
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