The Chikungunya Virus

Travel Health Notice


Outbreaks of chikungunya have become increasingly frequent over the past months after local transmission was reported for the first time in the Caribbean in December of last year. Since then, local transmission of the virus has spread to many countries in neighbouring regions.
The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that travellers protect themselves from mosquito bites when travelling to areas where chikungunya may occur.

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. 

Where is chikungunya a concern?


Chikungunya occurs in Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Caribbean, the Pacific Islands and the Indian subcontinent. Additional information about chikungunya cases is available on the Pan American Health Organization website.

  • Caribbean and Americas: Since December 2013, confirmed cases of chikungunya have been reported on many islands in the Caribbean. Local transmission of the virus has also spread to countries in Central and South America and Florida in the United States. These cases mark the first time that locally acquired transmission of chikungunya has been detected in the region of the Americas. Outbreaks within these regions are ongoing with over 900,000 suspected and confirmed cases.
  • France: In October of this year, 11 locally acquired transmitted cases of chikungunya were reported in Montpellier, a city in southern France. This is the first time that locally acquired transmission of chikungunya has been reported in the country since 2010.
  • Pacific Islands: Outbreaks of chikungunya are ongoing in American Samoa, French Polynesia, Samoa and Tokelau. Several other countries have reported cases in individuals who have travelled to some of these affected areas.




Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic at least six weeks before you travel. Protect yourself from mosquito bitesExternal link, particularly during peak mosquito biting times around sunrise and sunset. 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.



Sources: Chikungunya Global Update and Chikungunya Virus

Leave a Comment