difference between chikungunya and zika virus
difference between chikungunya and zika virus

What is the Difference Between Chikungunya and Zika?

Chikungunya and Zika both are mosquito transferred diseases but are linked to each other through the commonality of their symptoms. Zika, like Chikungunya, is caused by the bite of the Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus mosquito, through which the virus is transmitted into the bloodstream.  In fact, the preliminary symptomspresented by both these viruses are so similar that it is difficult to diagnose on the basis of these alone. The incubation period for both the viruses falls between 2-12 days from the mosquito bite. Both Chikungunya and Zika are not transmitted through breastfeeding but run the risk of being transferred through infected blood transfusions. The severity of both does not prove to be fatal in case of most people.

The common symptoms for both Chikungunya and Zika include:

  • Skin maculopapular rash on the body
  • A headache
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • A sore Throat
  • Muscle Pain
  • Join Pain
  • Swelling
  • Conjunctivitis

Must read: Chikungunya Home Remedies & Chikungunya Treatment for Joint Pains.

The difference between Chikungunya and Zika is based mostly on the severity of the common symptoms and symptoms which are present in one and not in the other.

Chikungunya vs Zika

Criteria Chikungunya Zika
Virus Chikungunya is caused by the Togaviridae alphavirus Zika is caused by the Flaviviridae flavivirus which is also the virus that causes Dengue Fever.
Fever Fever is generally above 39°C There is a mild fever which is almost always lower than 38.5°C
Joint Pain There is a severe joint pain Only a mild joint pain is experienced
Post recovery joint pain In chronic cases of Chikungunya, joint pain may stay for as long as 3 years Only in rare cases does the joint pain persist for a month after recovery
Lower back pain Lower back pain is experienced in some cases of Chikungunya There is no pain in the lower back area
Gastro problems No gastro problems are associated with it Zika is said to cause gastrointestinal problems sometimes, which may prove fatal in case of older people.
Bleeding There may be slight bleeding in some people. There is no bleeding in Zika
Red Spots on the skin Red spots appear on the body after 48 hours and that too not in all cases. The spots appear within 24 hours of contracting the virus and are almost always present.
Guillain- Barre syndrome Rare cases of Chikungunya suffer from any neurological problems Zika is associated with the Guillain – Barre syndrome which is a neurological disorder. This disorder can also cause temporary paralysis in adults.
Microcephaly Rare cases of Chikungunya suffer from any neurological problems. Unlike Chikungunya, Zika virus is known to cause neurological impairments, like microcephaly in babies who were infected during pregnancy. Microcephaly causes brain calcifications in fetuses.
Birth defects in babies Chikungunya virus does not cause any birth defects in babies. Zika virus is said to cause some birth defects in babies. Missing brain structures, Vision and hearing defect, and poor growth are some of the few.
Vaccine There is no vaccine available for Chikungunya Research has proven that both Zika and Dengue can be neutralized by the same antibodies. The vaccine is being developed currently to tackle Zika.
Contagious One of the prominent areas of difference between Chikungunya and Zika lies in how contagious they are. Chikungunya virus cannot be sexually transmitted from the infected person to a healthy one There have been reported cases of the Zika virus being transmitted through the infected person to the other during intercourse.
Mother to child virus transmission Rarely, but Chikungunya virus can be transmitted from a mother to child during childbirth. Pregnant women having contracted the Zika virus run the risk of transmitting the same to the baby during pregnancy itself and also during childbirth.

Also, read about: Chikungunya vs Dengue.


In both Chikungunya and Zika, the patients are advised to take plenty of rest, drink enough fluids, and treat pain, fever, and other associated symptoms with common OTC medicines. All mosquito-borne diseases like Chikungunya, Dengue, Zika, and Malaria warrant that precautions should be taken to eliminate mosquito and larva breeding in the surroundings. Wearing full-sleeved clothing and using mosquito repellents also aids in prevention against such diseases.

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