Chikungunya in Ethiopia

Warning - Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel
Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions
Watch - Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions

As the COVID-19 situation around the world changes, CDC is monitoring COVID-19 risk in each country and making travel recommendations. If you are considering international travel, see CDC’s COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination.

Key Points 

  • There is an outbreak of chikungunya in Ethiopia.
  • Mosquitoes spread the virus that causes chikungunya. Mosquitoes become infected with chikungunya when they bite a person already infected. Once infected, a mosquito can then spread the virus to other people it bites.
  • You can protect yourself against chikungunya disease by preventing mosquito bites.
What is chikungunya?

Symptoms of chikungunya disease usually begin 3–7 days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito. Most people infected with chikungunya virus develop some symptoms. The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms can include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.

The symptoms of chikungunya disease are similar to those of dengue and Zika. Dengue and Zika are two other diseases spread by the same mosquitoes that transmit chikungunya.

People at risk for more severe disease include newborns infected around the time of birth, older adults (65 years or older), and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease.

Chikungunya disease does not often result in death, but the symptoms can be severe and disabling. And even though most patients feel better within a week, others may have joint pain that lasts for months.

What is the current situation?

Chikungunya is an ongoing risk in many parts of Africa, and there is currently an outbreak in Ethiopia. Travelers should protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites.

What can travelers do to protect themselves?

There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat chikungunya. The most effective way to prevent infection from chikungunya virus is to prevent mosquito bites. The mosquitoes that spread chikungunya bite during the day and night. All travelers to Ethiopia should take steps to prevent mosquito bites by using an EPA-registered insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors, and sleeping in an air-conditioned room or a room with window screens or under an insecticide-treated bed net.

Learn more about chikungunya (how to prevent it and what to do if you think you are infected) at CDC’s chikungunya page.

Clinician Information

This notice was originally posted October 8, 2019.