How to Prevent Chikungunya Fever

Five Parts:Controlling Mosquito PopulationsPreventing Mosquito BitesRecognizing Symptoms of ChikungunyaDiagnosing ChilkungunyaEasing Symptoms of Chikungunya

Chikungunya is a growing health concern across the world. A person may contract the chikungunya virus through the bite of an infected mosquito. The defining characteristic of Chikungunya is the extreme joint pain it causes, and although the infection itself only lasts for between two and twelve days, the joint pain can last for several months.[1] Thankfully, this disease is preventable as certain precautionary measures can be taken to prevent the mosquito bites which cause the illness.

Part 1
Controlling Mosquito Populations

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    Know that chikungunya fever is contracted through mosquito bites. The virus that causes chikungunya fever is from the genus Alphavirus. This virus is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites, most commonly those of the Aedes aegypti mosquito.[2]
    • Aside from chikungunya, the Aedes aegypti mosquito can transmit other diseases such as dengue and yellow fever.
    • The Aedes aegypti mosquito can easily be identified by the unique white markings on its legs and body. Originally, this mosquito was only found in Africa, but now it is found in subtropical and tropical regions across the globe.
    • The mosquito is attracted to human blood by certain chemical compounds emitted by the body, such as ammonia, lactic acid, carbon dioxide, and octenol.
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    Familiarize yourself with the behavior of the mosquito. The Aedes aegypti mosquito is known to be more active during the early and late hours of the day.
    • However, these mosquitoes can bite at any time of the day and in any season. In addition to this, Aedes aegypti is more common in dark, shady areas, and indoors.[3]
    • The most common breeding area of Aedes aegypti is stagnant water. This includes the water found in flower vases, discarded tires, buckets, uncovered barrels, bottles, and others.
    • The lifespan of Aedes aegypti may last up to one month. However, its eggs are resistant to cold and heat. Thus, these mosquitoes can easily make a comeback after the summer and winter.
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    Target the breeding ground of the mosquitoes. One of the best ways to protect yourself from chikungunya virus is to go directly to the mosquito's breeding grounds and eliminate as many mosquitoes and eggs as possible.
    • The most common breeding area for the Aedes aegypti mosquito is standing water. Therefore, the first step is to empty any open containers of water around your home.
    • Next, look for any possible reservoirs of water around your home or backyard that may serve as a place for mosquitoes to reproduce. This may include discarded tires, flower vases, cans, bottles, rain gutters, drums, and more.
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    Perform general cleaning around your home or community. It should be noted that female Aedes aegypti are attracted to the scent of bacteria found in stagnant water, so when you clean your surroundings, there will be less stagnant water and therefore fewer mosquitoes.
    • Cleanliness is the key to destroying the homes of mosquitoes, therefore you should make sure that you clean your water drainage system. Also keep in mind that stagnant rivers, creeks, or canals may also serve as a breeding ground for these mosquitoes.
    • In the event that a creek or river is filled with plants or garbage to the point that the water cannot flow anymore, make a concerted effort with your community to implement a clearing program which will get the water flowing again.
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    Add some fish to ponds or any other bodies of water. Fish are great for keeping mosquitoes under control. Since ponds and other still bodies of water may attract Aedes aegypti, adding fish to the water will help to decrease the number of mosquito eggs and larvae as they will be eaten by the fish. This method may serve as a long-term solution for mosquito control.
    • The most common type of fish that feeds on mosquitoes is the Gambusia affinis, better known as the mosquitofish. Other fish may include minnow, carp, tilapia, and killfish.
    • You should also promote populations of other animals that prey on mosquitoes. This includes lizards, geckos, dragonflies, frogs, birds, bats, and others.
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    Use mosquito traps. Mosquito traps involve the creation of an artificial breeding ground for the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Then, once the mosquitoes have laid their eggs, the eggs can be destroyed manually or special chemicals can be added to the traps to kill the larvae.
    • The most common mosquito trap is the lethal ovitrap. Originally, this type of trap was used to study mosquito populations, but it was later found that scientists could simply add chemicals to the trap to kill both the eggs and the larva. Lethal ovitraps are effectively used to protect against chikungunya, yellow fever, dengue fever, and west Nile virus.
    • A light trap is another good mosquito control device. A blue or violet colored UV light is used to attract the mosquitoes. Once inside the trap, the insects are either electrocuted or are caught in a sticky board.

Part 2
Preventing Mosquito Bites

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    Wear long, protective clothing. You can protect against mosquito bites by wearing protective clothing, such as long pants and long-sleeved shirts. You should also ensure that the material is thick enough to prevent the mosquitoes from penetrating the cloth.
    • If the weather is humid, choose loose clothing which allows air to circulate around your body. Loose clothing will also create a space between your clothing and skin which makes it harder for mosquitoes to reach your skin.
    • Mosquitoes are also attracted to body heat, so it's a good idea to opt for light colored clothing which doesn't absorb too much heat and allows your body to stay cool.
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    Use fabric detergents that contain mosquito-repellent. It's possible to buy special laundry detergents containing mosquito repellent which you can wash your clothes with. After washing, the clothes will repel mosquitoes while you wear them.
    • Alternatively, you could just spray insect repellent on your clothing.
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    Use mosquito nets, especially when you are sleeping. Hanging mosquito nets around your bed will prevent you from getting bitten while you sleep.
    • To add further protection, you can use mosquito nets that have been chemically treated with insect repellent.
    • Also think about adding insect screens to your windows and doors. This will prevent mosquitoes from coming into your house through open spaces.
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    Use mosquito-repellent lotions and sprays. Mosquito repellent should contain at least 30% to 50% of DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide). However, a higher percentage than this may result in skin irritation.
    • If you are applying sunscreen at the same time as mosquito repellent, make sure to apply the sunscreen first and the repellent after. Otherwise it won't be as effective.[4]
    • Mosquito repellent containing the ingredient "picaridin" should only have 15% of this ingredient to prevent skin irritation.
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    Relocate to a place where mosquitoes are not common. If you are looking for an extreme but effective method of protecting yourself against chikungunya, you could consider relocating to an area where mosquitoes are not common.
    • If you are looking for a new home, look for an area where big bodies of stagnant water are not common such as swamps, marshes, and jungles.
    • Of course, relocating can be costly and is not a practical solution for the majority of people.
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    Kill mosquitoes. Be vigilant about the presence of mosquitoes. If possible, it is better to catch and kill a mosquito while it's in the air rather than waiting for it to land on you.
    • If you wait for it to land on you first, it may have had the chance to bite you before it died. This increases the chance that you will develop chikungunya.
    • The best way to kill a mosquito is to use a mosquito swatter, as it exponentially increases your chances of killing the mosquito while it's at rest.

Part 3
Recognizing Symptoms of Chikungunya

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    Look for swelling, redness and pain in the joints. People infected with chikungunya will experience severe pain in the joints, especially in the joints of the lower limbs such as the ankles, knees and hip joints and in the joints of the upper limbs such as elbows, shoulders and wrists. Backache is rarely seen with this disease.
    • The joint pain is often described as aching or throbbing in nature. Redness and swelling are also present in addition to the joint pain. The joint will be very tender to the touch and the sufferer may have difficulty in moving their joints.
    • Sometimes, the sufferer may be unable to move their joints due to severe pain, causing difficulties in walking, standing up from a sitting position , running, writing, driving, picking things up, etc.
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    Watch out for secondary symptoms. Aside from joint pain, secondary symptoms of chikungunya fever include nausea, vomiting, conjunctivitis, and photophobia (hypersensitivity to light). Sometimes, a person's sense of taste is also affected.
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    Understand the progression of the symptoms. In its initial stages, chikungunya fever presents itself with symptoms such as:
    • Low grade fever or increased body temperature, malaise, a reduction in feelings of hunger etc. Sometimes vomiting is also present.
    • After five to seven days, the joint pain begins. It starts with mild difficulties in movement and pain in the joints early in the morning. The patient may even have difficulty getting out of bed. However, this pain should start to subside as the day progresses.
    • For more information on recognizing the symptoms of Chikungunya fever, see this article.

Part 4
Diagnosing Chilkungunya

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    Get an ELISA blood test. If a patient is suspected of having Chikungunya, their blood will be taken in order to perform a special type of blood test called an ELISA test. This test is used to detect the presence of immune antibodies in the system, which could indicate the presence of chikungunya.
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    Have your blood serum tested. Your blood serum will also be tested to check for the presence of Chikungunya viral RNA, however this can usually only be found in the first 5 to 8 days following infection.[5]
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    Use WHO criteria to confirm the diagnosis. The World Health Organization has also provided some criteria to confirm a Chikungunya fever diagnosis. These include:
    • Presence of fever above 38.5 degree Celsius (101.3 degrees Fahrenheit), and presence of severe joint or muscle pain without any other medical or orthopedic conditions.
    • Person visited epidemic area 15 days before infection.
    • Presence of positive laboratory tests, as described above.

Part 5
Easing Symptoms of Chikungunya

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    Understand that there is no specific treatment for Chikungunya. The virus is self-limiting, which means that it will resolve itself over time. Therefore, treatment is focused on easing the symptoms such as joint pain and fever using medications and home-care methods.[6]
    • For more information on recovering from Chikungunya, see this article.
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    Use a warm compress on stiff joints. Place a warm compress over painful, aching joints for up to 30 minutes, three times a day.
    • The heat from the warm compress increases blood flow to the affected joint which helps to decrease joint inflammation and stiffness and muscle tension.
    • Increased blood flow also promotes the healing process as the blood helps to carry nutrients to the joints and remove toxins and waste products.
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    Massage your aching joints. Massaging the joints by applying deep pressure and using a pain reliever gel can be very effective for easing stiffness and pain.
    • Opt for massage gels that contain ingredients such as Diclofenac gel, linseed oil, camphor etc., as these help to relieve pain.
    • Massage is safe to use several times a day, or as needed.[7]
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    Use a cold pack. Apply a cold pack over the affected joint twice a day for at least 20 minutes at a time in order to relieve inflammation and pain.
    • Make sure the cold pack is covered in a cloth or towel, as allowing the skin to come in direct contact with the cold can be damaging.
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    Take some pain relievers. Severe joint pain can be somewhat alleviated through the use of painkillers. For chikungunya sufferers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are recommended. These drugs work by blocking pain signals to the brain level while also providing anti-inflammatory properties.
    • Ibuprofen: This works by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins, which are hormones responsible for producing pain signals. The dosage is 4 to 6 mg per kg every 6 or 12 hours, depending on the severity of the pain.
    • Naproxen: This drug is well established in the treatment of moderate pain. It works by inhibiting cyclogenase, a substance which is responsible for the production of prostaglandins. The initial dosage is 500 mg every 12 hours.


  • There is an ongoing effort to create a chikungunya vaccine. To some extent, the existing vaccine is effective, but only for a limited length of time. Studies show that the vaccine is only effective for less than a year. In addition to this, some people reported that they experienced signs and symptoms associated to chikungunya even after being vaccinated.
  • Prevention is always better than cure; and this is certainly true when it comes to chikungunya. Make sure you follow the steps above to increase your chance of evading this unpleasant disease.
  • Acquire as much information about chikungunya as possible to help you deal with it more effectively.

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Categories: Zoonotic Diseases