Indonesia Expat
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Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya Fever
Chikungunya Fever

Mosquitos can cause Chikungunya, Japanese Encephalitis and Dengue of course.

Let’s discuss the less well-known diseases spread by mosquitos this time. Usually found in the more eastern parts of Indonesia, but because some of us might like travelling in this huge archipelago it is important to have some knowledge about them. Chikungunya can cause a fever and intense joint pains. It sometimes looks like Dengue which more people are familiar with. It is caused by the Chikungunya virus and is spread by mosquito bites.

The best way to avoid infection is to prevent mosquito bites.

Avoid mosquito bites! How?

Use of insect repellents, anti-mosquito lotions or sprays.

  • Repellents which contain ‘DEET’ are recommended. Eucalyptus oil also works.
  • Use your sunscreen first and then put on insect repellent.

Wear the right type of clothing

  • Long, loose-fitting clothing reduces the amount of exposed skin that can be bitten.

Use a mosquito net

  • Sleeping or resting under a net protects you from being bitten.

Reduce mosquitoes around your accommodation

  • Stopping mosquitoes from entering and breeding around your home helps prevent you from being bitten.

If you develop fever, especially after travelling to the more eastern part of Indonesia it is better to seek medical attention.

Overview of the Disease

Chikungunya is spread by the bite of Aedes species of mosquito. These predominantly bite during the day, from sunrise until sunset. These mosquitoes also transmit Dengue fever and Yellow fever. Chikungunya fever can be caught in more than 100 countries in Africa, Asia, North, South and Central America, the Caribbean and the Pacific islands.

The Illness

Symptoms start from four to eight days after the mosquito bite.

A high fever and often pains in the joints are the main symptoms.  A rash, tiredness, nausea and muscle pains. A rash, headache, feeling tired, feeling sick (nausea) and muscle pains may also be experienced. The illness behaves like a viral illness. Chikungunya usually gets better over a few days or a week and serious complications are uncommon.

The pain in the joints may continue in some people for weeks to months or longer.

Your GP (GOOD PRACTICE) can test to see if you are infected with Chikungunya.

It involves a blood test.


Symptoms like fever, joint pain and headache can be treated with painkillers. Paracetamol up to 4 grams a day might be taken.  Ongoing joint pains often need anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and assessment by a specialist.

Japanese encephalitis

It is caused by a virus which is spread through mosquito bites, but you can get a vaccine to prevent it.

Symptoms include Flu-like symptoms, headache, fever, nausea and tummy pain.

In some people, the infection spreads to the brain and causes serious symptoms like severe headache, confusion, paralysis and seizures.

The virus can be found in parts of Asia, including Bali and the Eastern part of Indonesia.

Avoid insect bites!

Japanese encephalitis vaccine

Usually, one vaccine is sufficient to protect you for life.

Treatment for Japanese encephalitis

You’ll need to be treated in hospital if you’re very unwell because it can be life-threatening. Management includes painkillers and steroids.


Dengue is also a viral disease which is spread through mosquito bites. It is best to avoid any mosquito bites. The disease is very common in urban areas especially if there is any stagnant water in the neighborhood.

Symptoms are fever, headache, nausea and a rash. Usually, you feel very ill for a week. A complication is hemorrhagic fever, when you can develop spontaneous bleeding.  Diagnosis is easily confirmed by a blood test.


There is now a vaccine available that protects against all four types of dengue. It can be given safely from age six in Indonesia. Contact us for more information at GOOD PRACTICE clinic.

Also Read A NEW YEAR. Look for a Doctor!

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