There is no cure for chikungunya. Treatment is focused on relieving symptoms.
There is currently no cure for chikungunya, nor is there a vaccine.
Treatment of chikungunya is aimed at managing symptoms.
If you have the disease, antipyretics (drugs that reduce fever), analgesics (pain relievers), fluids, and rest can help make you more comfortable.
Over-the-counter (OTC) medications you can use to treat chikungunya pain and fever include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), and aspirin.
Chikungunya or Dengue Fever?
If you are in or have been in an area that also has dengue fever, your doctor should treat you as if you have dengue instead of chikungunya, since dengue is more serious.
This should be done until blood tests can confirm your disease.
Dengue is spread by the same types of mosquitoes as chikungunya is, and it has many similar symptoms. But dengue causes bleeding that is made worse by many of the medications for pain and fever.
Your doctor may recommend acetaminophen (Tylenol) to reduce fever and pain if you have either disease, since Tylenol does not increase the risk of bleeding.
It's also possible to have both chikungunya and dengue at the same time.
Recovery from Chikungunya
In most cases, symptoms of chikungunya last for about a week, after which most people recover fully.
For some people, however, joint pain persists or recurs in the months following the acute illness.
More rarely, the pain and other symptoms may become chronic, continuing for months or even years.
Persistent joint pain may be treated with NSAIDs, corticosteroids, and physical therapy.
Occasionally, additional treatments and ongoing care are required for serious complications, such as inflammation of the eyes, heart muscle (myocarditis), or brain (encephalitis), or the development of other conditions.
Chikungunya Prevention and Control
Prevention and control of chikungunya involves reducing the number of mosquitoes in a geographic area and preventing mosquito bites.
Reducing the number of places that mosquito breed can cut down the population significantly.
Some simple actions include:
- Emptying water from containers, such as the saucers under potted plants, vases, buckets, and rain gutters
- Covering water containers that cannot be emptied, such as tanks or reservoirs that provide household water
- Getting rid of old tires that may be left outside
- Keeping garbage in closed plastic bags and in closed containers
You may also use insecticide to kill mature mosquitoes and immature larvae. Some townships and cities may also do aerial spraying of insecticides.
The mosquitoes that cause most chikungunya infections typically bite aggressively during the day, with biting activity peaking at twilight, although sometimes they may bite in the nighttime, too.
You can minimize mosquito bites by:
- Wearing long sleeves, long pants, and other clothing that minimizes skin exposure
- Using insect repellents on skin or clothing
- Making sure indoor spaces have adequate screens to keep mosquitoes out
- Using insecticide-treated mosquito nets over your bed if you sleep in the daytime
- Wearing mosquito netting over your face and neck, in addition to using gloves or repellents, if you spend a lot of time outdoors in areas with mosquitoes
- Avoiding travel to areas experiencing a chikungunya outbreak
Mosquito bites are also important to prevent if you already have chikungunya, because your blood can infect mosquitoes, which will spread the infection to other people.
The risk of a person with chikungunya infecting a mosquito is highest during the first week of the illness.