Wondering whether Dengue and Chikungunya are Similar Diseases?

By Dr. Vimal Kumar Nakra in Internal Medicine

Oct 10 , 2016 | 2 min read

Aedes Mosquito has been in news for quite some time now as it is well known for effective biting of humans. They have the ability to reduce the humming of their wings while approaching humans. It requires just 2ml water for breeding and surprisingly their eggs can lay dormant till 1 year. Earlier, Chikungunya was called as Dengue and it was only after the outbreak of the former in Makonde Plateau, it was classified as a separate disease. The common symptoms that a patient can witness are high fever, joint pain, rashes and drowsiness.

Both Dengue and Chikungunya are viral diseases having similar symptoms. However, it is important to identify the exact disease as Dengue might require medical intervention. It can happen that a patient can have both Dengue and Chinkungunya at the same time (co-infection). Moreover, the diseases can be confused with Malaria but a distinguishing symptom of Dengue is bleeding.

There are certain similarities between the two:

  • Both are common in tropical and subtropical regions of world
  • Both involve rural and developing urban population more than urban fully developed areas
  • Both are viral in origin spread by mosquitoes
  • Both may prove fatal if not treated properly especially in infants, elderly, and patients, with Diabetes, Hypertension, Heart diseases.

Let us give you a broader distinction between both the diseases:

Dengue is more fatal than Chikungunya and may require immediate medical intervention. If you are suffering from Chikungunya, joint pain may persist for several years and can affect your quality of life. 

Type  Dengue 


Longevity of disease

Incubation period is of 3-7days and disease duration is 4-7weeks

Incubation period is of 1-12 days and disease variation from one to two weeks

Symptoms High fever, joint pains, severe headaches

Joint and muscle pains, rashes, eye infection, high fever

Joints and muscle pain Joint pain on knees and shoulders. Muscle pain on legs, arms and back Swelling on legs and pain in the body especially hands and feet.
Rashes on skin

Primarily on legs and face


Rashes on hands, face, and stomach
Complications It is a life threatening disease. Can cause heavy bleeding and breathing difficulties Chronic joints pain. Though neurological complications may occur but they are rare

It takes more than 1-12 days before the symptoms are visible. However, in some cases, you can differentiate Chinkungunya easily by observing symptoms like:

  • Severe joint pains and high fever
  • Redness in eyes and visionary problems
  • Rashes on stomach, hands and legs.


Most important point is to avoid exposure to mosquitoes:

  • Use of mosquito nets and repellents
  • Wearing full sleeve shirt and trousers
  • Avoid water collection in open areas
  • Vector ( mosquito ) control by fumigation
  • Vaccine --- dengue vaccine is available at selected places for selective use however no vaccine is available for Chikungunya.