Everyone asks: how do I protect myself from chikungunya?

Everyone asks ... do I need to take protective measures against chikungunya when I travel overseas?

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitos, and it's not a souvenir you want to bring home.

The name means ''that which bends up'' in the Kimakonde language of Mozambique, close to Tanzania, where the disease was first identified in 1953.

Symptoms include fever, headaches, nausea, cramps and joint pain.These symptoms mirror those of dengue fever, and chikungunya may be misdiagnosed.

While fatalities are rare, there is no specific remedy. Zones of infection include central and southern Africa, China, India, all of South-East Asia and Papua New Guinea.

Infections have also occurred as a result of mosquito bites in France and Italy, and chikungunya is on the rise. Between 2002 and 2012, there were 168 cases of chikungunya virus reported in Australia. In the first nine months of 2013, that figure was 107, with Bali as the most common source of infection.

The Aedes mosquito that is the primary vector for chikungunya bites at all hours, and total protection of exposed areas is required to guard against infection. Shore up your defences by applying a repellent lotion containing DEET or picaridin rather than a spray.