Other animals, including birds, cattle, and rodents, may also become infected and contribute to spreading the disease through mosquitoes.
You can spread the virus to others if you are bitten by a mosquito about two to six days into your illness.
Blood-borne transmission is also possible. It’s been documented in laboratory workers exposed to infected blood.
Newborns may also contract chikungunya from infected mothers during a limited number of days before and after birth.
Breastfeeding is not thought to spread the infection, since the virus has not been found in breast milk.
Two species of aggressive mosquitoes in the United States are known to carry chikungunya.
They are the Aedes aegypti, or “yellow fever mosquito,” in the South; and the Aedes albopictus, or “Asian tiger mosquito,” found in much of the country.
Mosquito-breeding sites near human habitation pose a significant risk for chikungunya.
Chikungunya Prevalence Worldwide
Chikungunya has mainly affected people in Africa, Asia, and India, where millions have been infected since epidemics re-emerged in 2004, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
More recently, it has been found in Europe and North and South America, including the Caribbean.
From 2006 to 2013 in the United States, an average of 28 cases of chikungunya (ranging from five to 65) has been reported each year, according to the CDC.