Skip main navigation

Military Health System

Clear Your Browser Cache

This website has recently undergone changes. Users finding unexpected concerns may care to clear their browser's cache to ensure a seamless experience.

Surveillance Snapshot: Chikungunya in Service Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, 2016–2022

Image of 3260412022  CDC  Amy E Lockwood MS. Eight cases of chikungunya virus disease among U.S. service members were documented between 2016 and 2022.

Chikungunya is a viral disease spread by the bite of an infected mosquito,1 characterized by severe joint pain and myalgia that can last for weeks or months.2 Prior to 2013, cases and outbreaks of Chikungunya were identified in Africa, Asia, and Europe; in late 2013, however, the first local transmission in the Americas was identified in the Caribbean.1 Chikungunya became a nationally-notifiable disease in the United States in 2015 following a substantial increase in locally-acquired infections reported in U.S. territories.3     

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced its approval of a live attenuated virus vaccine on November 9, 2023, which may eventually be recommended to U.S. travelers.4 This could become relevant for U.S. military service members at potential risk for Chikungunya virus infection during deployments to endemic locations, particularly during outbreaks among local populations.     

Prior MSMR reports describe cases of Chikungunya occurring among U.S. military service members and other beneficiaries between 2010 and 2020.5,6 This Surveillance Snapshot updates these results through the end of 2022, using confirmed and probable medical event reports of Chikungunya cases from the U.S. military’s Disease Reporting System internet, which were confirmed via medical chart review.   

Eight cases of Chikungunya virus disease among service members were documented between 2016 and 2022 (Table). Five cases were recorded in the Army, and three in the Navy. One case was acquired while on deployment to Djibouti; no other cases were deployment-related. Two cases were acquired via unofficial travel to Mexico. One case each was attributed to unofficial travel to Colombia, Brazil, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. Another case was diagnosed during deployment to South Korea, but the DRSi record indicated that the patient had previously lived in Puerto Rico, with no other pertinent travel history.     

Only one case was hospitalized; this case was acquired in Brazil by a 35-year-old male with a medical history of Bell’s palsy. Five cases reported fever and myalgia, which were the most commonly documented symptoms. Other reported symptoms included nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and rash. One case involving a 30-year-old male who acquired the infection in Colombia evidenced long-term symptoms (i.e., lasting longer than 12 weeks) manifesting as bilateral wrist and ankle pain worsened by movement.      

The small number of cases, hospitalizations, and evidence of long-term symptoms reported in the past seven years suggest that risk of Chikungunya virus disease to U.S. service member readiness is small. Prior reports have, however, indicated that cases among U.S. service members increase during periods of outbreak among local populations.6 Therefore, service members deployed to endemic locations are encouraged to use standard preventive measures including use of personal protective equipment. Policy development may also benefit from this information as the FDA-approved vaccine becomes more widely available. 

Authors' Affiliation

Defense Health Agency, Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division, Epidemiology and Analysis Section


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chikungunya Virus. Accessed Nov. 1, 2023.
  2. de Lima Cavalcanti TYV, Pereira MR, de Paula SO, Franca RFO. A review on Chikungunya virus epidemiology, pathogenesis and current vaccine development. Viruses. 2022;14(5):969. doi:10.3390/v14050969
  3. Mourad O, Makhani L, Chen LH. Chikungunya: an emerging public health concern. Curr Infect Dis Rep. 2022;24(12):217-228. doi:10.1007/s11908-022-00789-y
  4. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA News Release: FDA Approves First Vaccine to Prevent Disease Caused by Chikungunya Virus. Nov. 9, 2023. Accessed Dec. 8, 2023.
  5. O'Donnell FL, Fan M, Stahlman S. Surveillance for vector-borne diseases among active and reserve component service members, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016-2020. MSMR. 2021;28(2):11-15.
  6. O'Donnell FL, Stahlman S, Fan M. Surveillance for vector-borne diseases among active and reserve component service members, U.S. Armed Forces, 2010-2016. MSMR. 2018;25(2):8-15.

You also may be interested in...

Apr 8, 2024

Medical Surveillance Monthly Report

The Medical Surveillance Monthly Report, a peer-reviewed journal launched in 1995, is the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division's flagship publication. The MSMR provides monthly evidence-based estimates of the incidence, distribution, impact, and trends of health-related conditions among service members.

Mar 1, 2024

MSMR Vol. 31 No. 3 - March 2024

.PDF | 1.34 MB

The March 2024 MSMR features a comparison of 2018 estimates from the HRBS and the PHA on tobacco and nicotine use among the U.S. military active component; followed by a report on coverage of HIV PrEP among active duty service members in 2023; supplemented by a Surveillance Snapshot of HIV PrEP prescriptions in 2023 in the active component; then a ...

Mar 1, 2024

Coverage of HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Within the Active Duty U.S. Military, 2023

This study provides the first estimate of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis coverage in the U.S. military, defined as the proportion of the persons taking HIV PrEP out of the estimated number of persons who had indications for it, that is also comparable to U.S. civilian estimates. The population with indications for HIV PrEP was obtained from the ...

Mar 1, 2024

Mid-Season Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Estimates Among DOD Populations: A Composite of Data Presented at VRBPAC—the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee—2024 Meeting on Influenza Vaccine Strain Selection for the 2024-2025 Influenza Season

This is an introduction to a composite of three Surveillance Snapshots of Department of Defense data on mid-season influenza vaccine effectiveness that were presented at the 2024 VRBPAC meeting.

Mar 1, 2024

Tobacco and Nicotine Use Among Active Component U.S. Military Service Members: A Comparison of 2018 Estimates from the Health Related Behaviors Survey and the Periodic Health Assessment

This study compared estimates of the prevalence of and risk factors for tobacco and nicotine use obtained from the 2018 Health Related Behaviors Survey and Periodic Health Assessment survey. The HRBS and the PHA are important Department of Defense sources of data on health behavior collected from U.S. military service members.

Skip subpage navigation
Refine your search
Last Updated: January 04, 2024
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery