Chikungunya poised to invade the Americas

April 7, 2014
This is Aedes albopictus during a blood-meal. Credit: Institut Pasteur

A team of French and Brazilian researchers warn that chikungunya virus is poised to invade, and become epidemic in the Americas according to research published ahead of print in the Journal of Virology.

The risk of a "catastrophic" in the Americas is boosted by the FIFA World Cup, to be held in Brazil next month, what with people coming in from near and from far, says corresponding author Ricardo Lourenco-de-Oliveira of the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Brazil annually reports the highest incidence of dengue, a virus that is transmitted by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, the same mosquitoes that transmit chikungunya, he says.

The basis of his worries is the study, in which he and his collaborators compared the ability of 35 populations of the two Aedes species to transmit three different genotypes of chikungunya. These populations ranged all over the Americas from Buenos Aires to Tyson, Missouri (near St. Louis.) Even in temperate Missouri, A. albopictus was found to have a high dissemination and transmission ability for two of the three chikungunya genotypes.

Chikungunya can cause severe joint pain, which can sometimes lead to permanent disability, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mortality has been known to reach 1/1000. The virus' name reflects the condition of many of the stricken, "bent down or become contorted," in the Tanzanian Makonda language.

Transmission of chikungunya was first reported in the Americas in December of last year, on the Caribbean island of St. Martin. By February 5th, the disease had spread to nine additional Caribbean countries. "The danger of spreading all over the tropical, subtropical, and even temperate regions of the Americas is a risk greater than ever," says Lourenco-de-Oliveira. "Our results showed that the [Americas are] very receptive and vulnerable to CHIKV [chikungunya ] transmission, and extremely exposed to the occurrence of an immediate chikungunya epidemic, since most regions are highly infested with both vectors."

Explore further: Investigation of Chikungunya virus yields two new antigens for vaccine development

More information: High vector competence of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus from ten American 2 countries as a crucial factor of the spread of Chikungunya, Published ahead of print 26 March 2014, DOI: 10.1128/JVI.00370-14

Related Stories

Researchers develop prototype chikungunya vaccine

March 21, 2013

Wageningen University in the Netherlands has developed a prototype vaccine against chikungunya in a joint effort with the Erasmus Medical Centre and TI Pharma. This prototype may hopefully lead to the first working vaccine ...

WHO sees first chikungunya cases in western hemisphere

December 10, 2013

Cases of chikungunya have occurred on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, marking the first time the mosquito-borne disease has spread in the western hemisphere, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday.

Scientists: Mosquito virus spreads to Americas

December 17, 2013

A nasty virus first detected in Africa that is spread to people by the bite of infected mosquitoes is being locally transmitted in the Americas for the first time on the tiny French Caribbean dependency of St. Martin, health ...

CDC issues travel health advisory for St. Martin

December 18, 2013

U.S. health authorities have issued a travel advisory for the French Caribbean dependency of St. Martin because of a mosquito-borne viral disease that is apparently being spread locally at the start of the winter tourist ...

Recommended for you

Bile acid uptake inhibitor prevents NASH / fatty liver in mice

September 21, 2016

Drugs that interfere with bile acid recycling can prevent several aspects of NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis) in mice fed a high-fat diet, scientists from Emory University School of Medicine and Children's Healthcare of ...

New therapeutic target for Crohn's disease

September 20, 2016

Research from the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) identifies a promising new target for future drugs to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The study, published today in Cell Reports, also indicates ...

Arthritis drug may help with type of hair loss

September 22, 2016

(HealthDay)—For people who suffer from a condition that causes disfiguring hair loss, a drug used for rheumatoid arthritis might regrow their hair, a new, small study suggests.

Mosquitoes, Zika and biotech regulation

September 19, 2016

In a new Policy Forum article in Science, NC State professor Jennifer Kuzma argues that federal authorities are missing an opportunity to revise outdated regulatory processes not fit for modern innovations in biotechnology, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.