Chikungunya is a disease that is transmitted through the bite of the Aedes mosquito. Humans can only contract this disease when they are bitten by the Aedes aegypti and Albopictus mosquitoes, who are the carriers of the Chikungunya virus. During the bite, the mosquitoes transfer this virus into the human bloodstream which then multiplies inside the body. It takes almost a week for the symptoms to manifest themselves and they include :
- Joint pain
- Some people may also experience a headache, muscle pain or a rash.
Is Chikungunya Contagious?
The answer to the common question of ” Is Chikungunya contagious “, is a definite no. In simple terms, the disease cannot be transferred or passed from one human to the other directly. It is during the first week of a person contracting the virus, that he or she also becomes the carrier of the virus. During this period, when a healthy mosquito bites a person suffering from Chikungunya, that mosquito becomes infected. This mosquito can then spread this virus further in healthy humans through its bite. For the virus to pass from one person to the other, it has to be carried through a mosquito.
The only aberration to this rule is in case of populations where a large number of people, as well as mosquitoes, are infected with this virus. This situation leads to an outbreak of the disease on a large scale, but again even in this case, a person cannot transfer the virus directly to a person as Chikungunya is not contagious.
What about person-to-person transfer of the virus?
Only in two cases is chikungunya contagious, wherein a person can transfer the virus to a healthy person and this includes:
- In case of a blood transfusion from a person who has contracted the virus. Since the incubation period for the virus is between 3-7 days, it sometimes takes a week for the symptoms to appear. The patient might donate blood unknowingly during that period. This fact is yet to be substantiated through scientific research and reported cases.
- Rarely, but a mother can pass on the virus to her newborn child in case she is suffering from Chikungunya at the time of childbirth.
Non-carriers of the virus
- The virus does not spread through human contact
- Sharing of clothing with an infected person does not spread the Chikungunya Virus
- Chikungunya is not transferred by an infected mother to her child through breastfeeding
- Sharing of the same bedding or toilet also does not spread the virus
- The virus cannot be sexually transmitted from the infected person to a healthy one