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chikungunya (chĭkən-go͞onˈyä), viral disease transmitted by the bite of an infected female Aedes mosquito. Symptoms appear after an incubation period of four to eight days and include sudden high fever, severe joint and muscle pain, and often headache, nausea, fatigue, and rash. The virus, of genus Alphavirus, occurs mostly in Africa, Asia, and the Indian subcontinent, but in recent decades has been found in Europe and the Americas. Though the disease is seldom fatal and symptoms generally subside after a few days, there is no cure for chikungunya, and it can cause long-term joint pain and other complications. Non-aspirin medications that reduce fever and relieve pain may help alleviate symptoms. Infection may be avoid by preventing mosquito bites with insect repellents and protective clothing and by removing water-filled breeding sites. The disease is sometimes misdiagnosed as dengue fever, especially in areas where dengue is common. The virus was first identified in 1953, in Tanzania (then Tanganyika). Since 2000 there have been epidemics in several countries in SE Asia as well as islands in the Indian Ocean and the S Pacific. In 2007 the first outbreak in Europe occurred in NE Italy. The first outbreak in the Americas began in the Caribbean in 2013, and the first domestically acquired cases occurring in the United States were recorded in S Florida in 2014.
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