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.
The 2005-epidemic of Chikungunya fever highlights the weaknesses of public health in India. The failure to control mosquitoes, and the illnesses transmitted by them, has resulted in recurrent outbreaks all over the country. This is inevitable given the larger scenario: neglect of the basic requirements of health; poor political support for health; a weak public health capacity; centralised programmes for control based on selective interventions, and poorly-planned development projects which have created conditions.