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.
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.
In 2005–2006, Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean reported ≈266,000 cases of chikungunya; 254 were fatal (case-fatality rate 1/1,000). India reported 1.39 million cases of chikungunya fever in 2006 with no attributable deaths; Ahmedabad, India, reported 60,777 suspected chikungunya cases. To assess the effect of this epidemic, mortality rates in 2006 were compared with those in 2002–2005 for Ahmedabad (population 3.8 million). A total of 2,944 excess deaths occurred during the chikungunya epidemic (August–November 2006) when compared with the average number of deaths in the same months during the previous 4 years.