Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) data from population studies are sparse. During the 2006 epidemic, 509 clinical cases (43% attack rate) were identified in a village survey (West India); laboratory investigations demonstrated normal blood cell counts, elevated acute-phase reactants [erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 (IL-6)] and excluded malaria and dengue. Acute CHIKV was characterized by high fever, severe peripheral polyarthralgias, axial myalgias and intense fatigue in over 90% of cases; skin rash (34%) and headache (19%) were uncommon. There were 49% and 62% of survey cases seropositive for IgM (rapid assay) and IgG (immunofluorescence) anti-CHIKV antibodies, respectively. Sixty-five percent of cases recovered within 4 weeks. None of the cases died. Of the population, 4·1% and 1·6% suffered from persistent rheumatic pains, predominantly non-specific, at 1 and 2 years, respectively. Chronic inflammatory arthritis was uncommon (0·3% at 1 year) although serum IL-6 often remained elevated in chronic cases. A larger population study is required to describe post-CHIKV rheumatism and its prognosis.