Chikungunya in Bali
WHAT IS CHIKUNGUNGYA?
Recently we have noticed that Chikungunya is appearing more in Bali. Chikungunya infection, or simply Chikungunya, is a mosquito-borne viral disease. Humans are usually infected when infected carrier mosquitoes transmit the virus to humans via a bite, spreading the Chikungunya virus (CHIKV). Discovered during an outbreak in southern Tanzania in 1952, the name “Chikungunya” comes from a word in the Kimakonde language, meaning “to become contorted”, and describes the stooped appearance of sufferers with joint pain.1
CHIKUNGUNGYA DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
Blood tests are available for Chikungunya diagnosis, and we can advise on your treatment plan if the virus is confirmed. We recommend proper care from a medical professional with mosquito-borne infections.
Infected individuals usually experience mild, self-limiting symptoms (resolving on their own, however, high-risk people who are more likely to develop severe disease include newborns, older adults (≥65 years), and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease etc.
Following the infected mosquito bite, the disease develops over 4-8 days (but can range from 2-12 days). The classic symptom is an abrupt onset of fever, frequently accompanied by joint pain. The joint pain usually lasts for a few days but, in some cases, can be severe and disabling and may persist for months or even years. Other common symptoms include muscle pain, joint swelling, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash.1 Occasional cases of eye, neurological and heart complications have been reported, as well as gastrointestinal complaints.2,4
Chikungunya symptoms can be similar to other arboviruses (like Dengue) in areas with co-circulation. However, compared to Dengue infection, Chikungunya rarely progresses to become life-threatening. Most patients recover fully from the disease and have protection from future infections due to the immune response formed.2
The main form of care for Chikungunya is to keep the patient hydrated. Since there are currently no specific antiviral medications for this infection, the doctors focus on relieving the symptoms. Treatment can include treating the joint pain using pain killers, reducing the fever with paracetamol, drinking plenty of fluids, and general rest.1 Extra caution should be taken when choosing aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), given the similarity of symptoms between Chikungunya and Dengue (especially in areas where both viruses circulate in an endemic area like Bali). In Dengue cases, these medications increase the risk of bleeding due to their effect on platelet function, so ruling out a dengue infection is helpful in patient care.2
HOW IS CHIKUNGUNGYA TRANSMITTED?
The only way to prevent Chikungunya is to avoid mosquito bites. Aedes mosquitoes bite during the day, particularly around dawn and dusk.
- Apply repellent containing N-diethyl metatoluamide (DEET) to exposed skin, combined with light cover-up clothing if possible.
- If sunscreen is also being used, repellent must be applied after sunscreen.
- Regularly empty standing water and keep outside areas free from waste items in which water may collect because mosquitoes typically lay eggs on standing water.
- Hang mosquito nets over beds.
- Make sure that open windows have screens.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants at night.2,
Contact us to book in for a Chikungunya diagnosis blood test, or for ongoing illness monitoring and care.
- 2020. WHO. Chikungunya Fact Sheets [cited 2022 July 19] Available from:
- 2. 2022. CDC. Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Treatment [Internet]. [cited 2022 July 19].
Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/symptoms/index.html
3. 2022. CDC. Prevention [Internet]. [cited 2022 July 19]. Available from:
4. 2014. Guidance Chikungunya [cited 2022 July 19] Available from :