The name “chikungunya” derives from a word in the Kimakonde language, meaning “to become contorted”, and describes the stooped appearance of sufferers with joint pain (arthralgia). Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. Aedes aegypti mosquito (also called yellow fever mosquito) is the primary transmission agent of Chikungunya Virus. Presence of stagnated water in and around human inhabitation is one of the main causes of increased aedes mosquito population. This in turn causes a large number of mosquito bites leading to the rapid spread of Chikungunya virus.
Chikungunya typically starts with one or more of the following symptoms - chills, fever, vomiting, nausea, head ache and joint pain. The attack is sudden and sometimes it is accompanied with rashes. Severe joint pain is the main and the most problematic symptom of Chikungunya.
Between 2002 and 2012, there were 168 cases of chikungunya virus (CHIKV) imported into Australia. Victoria and New South Wales had the largest number of notifications. The main sources were Indonesia, India and Malaysia. The number of cases increased from 2008 to reach a peak in 2010 (n=64; 40%). Although Indonesia accounted for the majority of CHIKV notifications in Australia, travel from India had the highest CHIKV importation rate (number of imported cases per 100,000 travellers).