Chikungunya fever is a mosquito-borne disease that is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions. Chikungunya translates as "the bent walking one," a characteristic symptom of the disease, which is accompanied by fever and severe joint, limb and muscle pain that can last for weeks to months after the fever has subsided.
The causative agent of the disease is the Chikungunya virus, which is transmitted primarily by the yellow fever mosquito and the Asian tiger mosquito. While the yellow fever mosquito is not yet present on the EU mainland, the tiger mosquito is already spreading in Europe as a result of climate change. In Austria, it was detected in all provinces for the first time in 2022.
The virus is not native to Europe, and most illnesses are due to travelers. However, when environmental conditions are favorable, local transmission can occur in areas where the Asian tiger mosquito is native: Since 2007, both France and Italy have reported transmission of chikungunya virus in their respective countries. The European Center for Disease Control and Prevention believes there is a high likelihood of the virus being introduced into Europe.