Travel Health Notice
Chikungunya is a disease caused by the chikungunya virus which typically causes fever, along with an arthritis-like pain in the joints and a rash. It is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Although caused by a different virus, the symptoms of chikungunya can appear very similar to those of dengue fever. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against chikungunya virus.
Chikungunya occurs in many regions of the world. Outbreaks of chikungunya have become increasingly frequent since local transmission was reported for the first time in the Caribbean in December 2013. Since then, local transmission of the virus has spread to many countries in neighbouring regions.
Since 2014, there has been an increase in travel-related chikungunya cases reported in Canada. The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that travellers protect themselves from mosquito bites when travelling to areas where chikungunya may occur.
Where is chikungunya a concern?
Chikungunya occurs in Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands. Several countries have reported cases in individuals who have travelled to an affected area.
Some areas are currently experiencing outbreaks:
- Caribbean and Americas: Local transmission of chikungunya has been reported on many islands of the Caribbean, countries in Central and South America and Mexico. Outbreaks in this region are ongoing with over 1.5 million suspected and confirmed cases reported since December 2013. In March 2016, Argentina reported its first chikungunya outbreak in the country. Additional information about chikungunya cases is available on the Pan American Health Organization’s website.
- Oceanic Pacific Islands: Outbreaks of chikungunya are ongoing in Cook and Marshall Islands.
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites, at all times, as the chikungunya virus is transmitted by a mosquito that can bite in daylight and evening hours. This includes the use of insect repellant and protective clothing.
- If you develop symptoms similar to chikungunya when you are travelling or after you return, see a health care provider and tell them where you have been travelling or living.
Extracted from “Public Health Agency of Canada”