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CDC’s Guidance on New Chikungunya Vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidance on the use of the chikungunya vaccine, opening the door for travelers to get vaccinated against this mosquito-borne viral illness before their trips.

These recommendations signal a new era of protection for those venturing to areas with chikungunya risk.

Quick Review: What Is Chikungunya?

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted by infected Aedes mosquitoes, the same type that spreads Zika, dengue, and yellow fever. It causes fever and severe joint pain, along with other symptoms like muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue, and rash.

While chikungunya is rarely life-threatening, the joint pain can be extremely debilitating and long-lasting. Some patients experience chronic joint pain lasting for months or even years after the initial illness. There is no specific treatment for chikungunya other than managing the symptoms.

The virus is found in Africa, Asia, Europe, Indian and Pacific Ocean regions. Outbreaks have occurred in countries like India, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, and Pakistan in recent years. With climate change and global travel, there is a risk of further spread.

Chikungunya Vaccine for Travelers

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) now recommends the chikungunya vaccine for the following groups of travelers aged 18 and older:

  • Travelers visiting a country or territory experiencing an ongoing chikungunya outbreak

  • Adults over 65, especially those with underlying medical conditions, traveling to areas with evidence of chikungunya transmission within the past 5 years, if they are likely to have at least moderate mosquito exposure during their trip

  • Travelers staying for a cumulative period of 6 months or longer in areas with recent chikungunya transmission

Moderate mosquito exposure is defined as at least 2 cumulative weeks of potential indoor or outdoor exposure to mosquitoes.

Chikungunya Vaccine for Lab Workers

In addition to travelers, ACIP recommends the chikungunya vaccine for laboratory workers with potential exposure to the chikungunya virus through their work.

This includes professionals working in virology labs, diagnostic laboratories, research facilities, and public health laboratories where they handle blood samples, tissue samples, or other bodily fluids from infected individuals for testing or research purposes.

Additionally, scientists conducting experiments on the chikungunya virus or working with infected animals in a laboratory setting could also be at risk of exposure.

Get Vaccinated at Away Clinic

These new CDC recommendations, adopted on February 28, 2024, open the door for travelers to get vaccinated against chikungunya before their trips. Away Clinic will soon offer the chikungunya vaccine, allowing you to protect yourself from this viral illness transmitted by infected mosquitoes.

Don't let chikungunya ruin your adventure. Book an appointment at Away Clinic at your nearest travel clinic in Chandler, Phoenix, or Scottsdale to get vaccinated against this mosquito-borne illness before your next trip.


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