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Year : 2006  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 307

Why Chikungunya is called Chikungunya

Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Parel, Mumbai - 400012, India

Correspondence Address:
S Kondekar
Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Parel, Mumbai - 400012
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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How to cite this article:
Kondekar S, Gogtay N J. Why Chikungunya is called Chikungunya. J Postgrad Med 2006;52:307

How to cite this URL:
Kondekar S, Gogtay N J. Why Chikungunya is called Chikungunya. J Postgrad Med [serial online] 2006 [cited 2023 Jun 4];52:307. Available from:

Chikungunya virus (CHIK, CHIKV), is a member of the Alphavirus genus, (Group A Arbovirus), which is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes and produces an illness that mimics dengue in many respects. The disease was first described in 1952-53 following an outbreak on the Makonde plateau (a Swahili village) along the border between Tangyanika (Tanzania) and Mozambique. The name of the disease itself comes from a Makonde word from the region; which means "that which bends up" or "stooped over" or "walking bent over" or "bended walker" referring to the stooped posture of patients who have multiple small joint involvement. In India, the disease is also called "Aakdya" (stiff man) and Maakdya (monkey like) referring again to the stooped gait (in Marathi Language), the hallmark of the disease. It has no relationship whatsoever with chicken or poultry, the recent confusion being caused to the earlier bird flu scare.

The virus was isolated in 1953 by Ross from a febrile patient and in India, the virus was first isolated in Calcutta in 1963 and the last outbreak was in 1971. It has seen a dramatic resurgence in many parts of the world since 2005. Fever, arthralgia, myalgia, headache and a diffuse maculopapular rash are the hallmarks of the disease. While the disease is largely self limiting, some deaths have been reported in the recent epidemic suggesting that the virus may have undergone an evolutionary change.

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