What are the symptoms of Chikungunya?

By  , Expert Content
Mar 28, 2011

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What are the symptoms of Chikungunya?

The symptoms of chikungunya fever generally start with fever 2-4 days after bite of an infected mosquito. The symptoms of chikungunya fever are

  • Rapid onset of joint pains (which is severe, crippling migrating, polyarticular arthritis) and it may or may not be associated with the following
  • Muscle pain,
  • High grade fever:
  • Conjunctivitis and
  • Rash.

The joint pain is caused by invasion of the joint cartilage by virus and subsequent inflammation. The macular or maculopapular rash is usually seen between the 2nd and 5th day of illness. It occurs most frequently on the trunk and limbs. Some patients can have conjunctivitis (infection of the eye) and minor bleeding in the skin and eye.

The infection is rarely life-threatening and majority of the patients recover in a few days. But it can cause substantial morbidity such as prolonged fatigue lasting several weeks, pain in joints for months or years. The prolonged joint pain seen in chikungunya fever is usually not observed in dengue and hemorrhagic cases typical of dengue fever are not seen in chikungunya virus infection.


Infection with chikungunya virus in pregnant women does not usually result in the virus being transmitted to the fetus. The symptom of chikungunya fever in pregnant women is similar to other individuals.


Many times chikungunya fever may be misdiagnosed as dengue infections in areas where both the infections occur. Other infections which may be confused with chikungunya fever include various viral hemorrhagic fevers or malaria. Chikungunya fever is diagnosed based on serological testing. Indirect immunofluorescence is a new test that has been used to diagnose chikungunya fever.


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