Chikungunya Fever Imported into the U.S.

by Wayne Ghesquiere on February 9, 2011

Gibney KB, Fischer M, Prince HE, et al. Chikungunya Fever in the United States: A Fifteen Year Review of Cases. Clin Infect Dis. March 1, 2011. Vol 52 (5): e121-e136. doi:10.1093/cid/ciq214.

CONCLUSIONS: Chikungunya fever has become an important viral infection of travelers since the explosive epidemic in South Asia and the islands of the Indian Ocean in 2005-2006. Viremia during the first 7 days of the illness in returned travelers carries the risk of transmission to Aedes mosquitoes in the eastern and southern U.S. and California, with the possibility of a local outbreak of disease.

ABSTRACT: Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a mosquito-borne alphavirus that causes chikungunya fever (CHIK), an acute febrile illness characterized by severe and often debilitating arthralgia. Since 2005, large outbreaks have occurred in South Asia and islands in the Indian Ocean. Mortality is rare, but morbidity is substantial. CHIK patients reported a median of 35 days off work, and more than 60% had persistent arthralgia 18 months after their illness. Occasionally there were neurological complications, myocarditis, hepatitis, or hemorrhage. Humans and other primates are the primary amplifying hosts of CHIKV, and travelers can potentially introduce the virus into non-endemic areas.

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