Ask the Doctor
November 18, 2014
Is chikungunya an airborne disease?

Dear Doc,

This Chikungunya virus must be spread in the air, because it is transmitted so fast.


Dear Adrian,

The rapid spread of the chikungunya virus does seem to make people suspect that it is transmitted through the air. The reality is that the pattern of spread does not suggest that this is the case.{{more}}

Persons who are in the same household, school and workplace don’t get the illness the same time, nor do they all get it, even though in the same space.

It is also noted that people who care for persons sick with chikungunya fever don’t have an increased risk of the illness so long as mosquitoes are not present. I personally treated many persons from the time of the initial outbreak in Bequia in April 2014 and I only contracted the illness in September 2014 — weeks after my own family did. This is also the case of many health care providers.

The pattern associated with maturity of mosquitoes after a period of rainfall also gives strong evidence of the spread by mosquitoes. When the mosquitoes mature, they need to feed on an available blood supply; thus when the cycle of adult is reached after the rains, the number of chikungunya fever cases is noted to increase.

It must also be noted that as this is a new disease, no one in the population has resistance; therefore, it will spread very fast, as most persons who are bitten by mosquitoes that carry the virus will most likely develop the chiukungunya fever.


SVG Cancer Society,
P.O. Box 709, Kingstown.
Email: [email protected]