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.
Sudden severe headache, chills, fever, joint and muscle pain are the commonest symptoms. The diagnostic tests include detection of antigens or antibodies in the blood, using ELISA (or EIA - enzyme immunoassay) or molecular techniques like polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The antibodies detected by serological assays like ELISA require an IgM capture assay to distinguish it from dengue fever. The virus may be isolated from the blood during the first few days of infection. Various reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT–PCR) methods are available but are of variable sensitivity.