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.
Chikungunya virus is endemic in parts of West Africa, where it appears to be maintained in a cycle involving humans, Aedes mosquitoes, primates, and perhaps other animals . Serosurveys of humans in parts of West Africa have identified antibodies to chikungunya virus in 35 to 50 percent of the population in the absence of recognized outbreaks.