The global incidence of dengue and chikungunya has greatly increased over recent decades, partly due to the increase of geographic distribution of both vectors. These infections are endemic to the tropics and subtropics, however autochthonous transmission and outbreaks have been described in non-endemic areas. Currently, there is a large chikungunya outbreak in the western hemisphere which started in the Caribbean.
Chikungunya had not previously been endemic to this region. Both arboviral infections are important causes of fever in Dutch travellers returning from tropical destinations. The clinical presentations of dengue and chikungunya overlap; both are characterised by high fever and arthralgia. Bleeding and plasma leakage are potentially life-threatening complications of dengue, while persistent arthralgia typifies chikungunya. The prevention of mosquito bites, by using protective clothing and insect repellents, is the only way to prevent infection. No vaccine is yet available.