Chikungunya is a potentially debilitating illness that is caused by a virus and spread by mosquitoes.

Chikungunya (pronounced chicken-goon-ya) may make you very sick and weak. The most common symptoms of chikungunya are fever and joint pain.

The Aedes mosquitoes that spread chikungunya virus are not found in New Zealand. This means anyone in New Zealand with the virus has almost always caught it overseas, often in the Pacific Islands or Asia.

If you are concerned about chikungunya, call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or see your doctor or practice nurse.

Chikungunya is spread by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. It cannot be spread directly from person to person.

There is no vaccine for chikungunya virus. The best way to avoid chikungunya is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes:

  • Use insect repellent (you can apply this over sunscreen);
  • Wear long sleeves, pants and socks;
  • Stay in places where there are mosquito screens on windows and doors, or places with air-conditioning where the doors and windows are closed.

Most people infected with chikungunya virus will develop some symptoms. Symptoms usually begin three to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include:

  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • joint swelling
  • rash

Most people feel better within a week, although some people may have joint pain for months.

There is no specific medicine to treat chikungunya virus. People with it, including those who have travelled recently, should see their doctor.

To help take care of yourself, you can:

  • rest
  • drink plenty of fluids
  • take paracetamol rather than aspirin for the fever, headache and muscle pains, as aspirin can increase the risk of bleeding

Talk to your doctor about what medicines you are taking before taking additional medicine.

People who become very unwell with chikungunya may need hospital treatment.

Chikungunya is a notifiable disease. This means that health professionals or laboratories will inform us when someone has it. Once we are notified about a case of chikungunya, we can investigate which country it came from and give health advice to stop it from spreading.

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service also works to keep mosquitoes from overseas out of Auckland.


There are specific requirements for notifiable diseases in the Auckland region.

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Last updated 22.11.2022

For health advice call Healthline for free anytime on 0800 611 116
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