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    Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is the responsible agent of chikungunya fever, a debilitating arthritic disease in humans. CHIKV is endemic in Africa and Asia, although transmission cycles are considerably different on these continents. Before 2004, CHIKV had received little attention, since it was only known to cause localised outbreaks in a limited region with no fatalities. However, the recent global reemergence of CHIKV has caused serious global health problems and shown its potential to become a significant viral threat in the future. Unexpectedly, the reemergence is more rapid and is geographically more extensive, especially due to increased intensity of global travel systems or failure to contain mosquito populations. Another important factor is the successful adaptation of CHIKV to a new vector, the Aedes albopictus mosquito. Ae. albopictus survives in both temperate and tropical climates, thus facilitating CHIKV expansion to non-endemic regions. The continuous spread and transmission of CHIKV pose challenges for the development of effective vaccines and specific antiviral therapies. In this review, we discuss the biology and origin of CHIKV in Africa as well as its subsequent expansion to other parts of the world. We also review the transmission cycle of CHIKV and its continuing adaptation to its mosquito vectors and vertebrate hosts. More-complete understanding of the continuous evolution of CHIKV may help in predicting the emergence of CHIKV strains with possibly greater transmission efficiency in the future.