7 Difference Between Chikungunya and Dengue – Causes, Symptoms and Prevention


The hot and humid tropical countries have always been a hotbed for various viral diseases. The names Chikungunya and Dengue have become synonymous with epidemics in these regions. These two diseases had previously been considered as one until in 1952 when an epidemic broke out in the Makonde plateau, a region lying between Mozambique and Tanzania. The first recognised case of Dengue took place in 1779. The following year a concurrent epidemic occurred in Asia, Africa and North America. The coinciding time period of the epidemic and the practice of slave trade in North America could be a possible reason how this tropical disease spread to the temperate regions of the world as well.

Chikungunya Vs. Dengue

Dengue and Chikungunya Causes:

Dengue and Chikungunya are both caused by viruses that are carried by a specific type of mosquito. It is most commonly seen to occur in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia and South America.

Chikungunya is caused by a virus of the genus alphavirus and belonging to the family Togaviridae. The Aedes aegypti is the most common mode of transmission of the Chikungunya virus while rare cases of Aedes albopictus mosquitoes spreading the disease have also been reported.

Dengue is caused by a virus of the family Flaviviridae and genus Flavivirus. Unlike Chikungunya, Dengue is transmitted through the Aedes aegypti mosquito only.


The similarity in symptoms of Chikungunya and Dengue had initially confused the medical world to believe that they were the same disease. It was only after the epidemic broke out in the 1780s that the distinctions between the two diseases were made.

Dengue Symptoms:

1. Sudden onset of high fever.

2. Severe headache and pain in and around the forehead.

3. Pain behind the eyes which results in increasing eye movements.

4. Body and joint pain.

5. Nausea or vomiting.

6. In case of the more severe form of this disease – Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever, also known as Dengue Shock Syndrome, the following symptoms are seen along with the usual ones of Dengue.Pain in the abdomen that could be severe and continuous.

  • Bleeding from the nose, gum, mouth or bruises on the skin.
  • Black stool.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • Pale and cold skin.
  • Restlessness or sleepiness.

Chikungunya Symptoms:

1. Rash
2. Pain in the lower back.
3. Joint pain. Swelling may or may not be present.
4. Vomiting
5. Nausea
6. Headaches
7. Chills
8. Fevers

Chikungunya Vs. Dengue: Distinguishing Points Between Dengue and Chikungunya:


Duration of The Disease:

Incubation period is 3 to 7 days while the duration of the disease is 4 to 7 weeks, depending on the severity of the condition.Incubation period is 1 to 12 days while the actual disease may last for about 1 to 2 weeks.

Initial Symptoms:

Fever, joint pain, head ache, rashesFever, joint pain, muscle pain, headache, eye infection rashes

Joint Pain and Muscle Pain:

Muscle pain on the back portion of the arms and legs. Joint pain occurs in the knees and shoulders.Joint pain around the hands and feet. Swelling is present. A high degree of pain is experienced in the morning.

Skin Rashes:

Rashes are usually limited to the face and limbs.Rashes are seen to appear on the face, trunk, limbs, palms and feet.

Possible Complications:

It may cause severe complications and prove to be life threatening. Shock, breathing difficulties and bleeding may occur which could also prove to be fatal.About 10% of the people may have chronic joint pain as a complication of Chikungunya. There is a chance of developing neurological problems but they occur rarely.


Dengue is caused by a virus of the family Flaviviridae and genus Flavivirus.Chikungunya is caused by a virus of the genus Alphavirus and belonging to the family Togaviridae.

Carriers of The Virus:

Dengue is transmitted through the Aedes aegypti mosquito.Chikungunya is transmitted through Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes.

Prevention of Dengue And Chikungunya:

Both Dengue and Chikungunya are diseases spread by the same agent – mosquitoes. Preventing the mosquitoes from breeding is the first step that should be taken to put a check on the spread of Dengue and Chikungunya. Using mosquito repellents, mosquito nets, wearing covered clothes, not allowing water to accumulate and stagnate over a period of time and keeping your surroundings clean are some preventive measures that are recommended by doctors.

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