Monthly Archives: June 2011

Outbreaks: Chikungunya outbreak in the Republic of Congo

JIDC Outbreaks

JIDC is introducing a new section of our Blog, Outbreaks.  Outbreaks will report on current infectious outbreaks worldwide and will include a summary of scientific information and /or epidemiology concerning the pathogen.  If you have an outbreak to report or a summary you would like to see posted, please contact me at

Outbreak:  Chikungunya Outbreak in the Republic of Congo

Chikungunya fever is a crippling disease caused by an arthropod-borne virus (arbovirus) transmitted to humans through mosquitoes.  Although Chikungunya virus is not often associated with mortality, the effects of virus outbreaks are often devastating, causing significant economic loss.  The recent outbreak of Chikungunya fever in the Republic of Congo has reported thousands of people affected. 


Outbreak of Chikungunya in the Republic of Congo

It was reported by IRIN, the UN’s humanitarian news and analysis service, on June 15th, 2011 that a large outbreak of possible Chikungunya fever (CHIKF) is affecting the Republic of Congo ([1]. In Brazzaville, the Republic of Congo’s largest city, an estimated 1,000 cases of CHIKF is suspected since the beginning of June.  CHIKF in humans is caused by infection of the chikungunya virus (CHIKV) which is transmitted by mosquitoes to people (arbovirus)[2].  Testing of patients who presented with CHIKF symptoms in the Republic of Congo have resulted positive for the CHIKV. 

IRIN reported “More than 900 people are showing symptoms of chikungunya, which is transmitted by mosquito,” Director-General of Health Alexis Elira Dokekias told a news conference on 14 June. 

By the end of June (June 28, 2011) an IRIN representative reported there were approximately 8,000 CHIKF affected people with no associated deaths. 

Although historically CHIKV is found in tropical regions of the globe, outbreaks have been reported in temperate regions suggesting the expanding tropism of the virus.


JIDC has published 3 articles on CHIKV that can be found Open Access on the JIDC website:

  1.  A Review of Chikungunya by Cavrini F. et al., JIDC 2009 entitled Chikungunya:  an emerging and spreading arthropod-borne viral disease [2].
  2. Antiviral therapy for Chikungunya by Ravichandran R. and Manian M. JIDC 2008 entitled Ribavirin therapy for Chikungunya arthritis [3].
  3. A Case Report of Chikungunya in India by Kumari R. et al., JIDC 2010 entitled The first Chikungunya case from Sonipat district near the national capital city of Delhi, India[4].


CHIKF not only a disease of the tropics

Historically CHIKV was only found in tropical regions.  In 2007, an outbreak of CHIKV occurred in Emilia Romagna region of Northern Italy.  The Italian outbreak of CHIKV spread through communities surrounding the city of Ravenna during August to October 2007 and also involved the major Italian city of Bologna [5,6].  In Italy, 254 people were determined to be infected with CHIKV which was transmitted by Ae. albopictus mosquito. The mosquito has been found in the Emilia Romagna region since 1990 [7–9].  The virus was brought to the Emilia Romagna region by a traveller returning from a CHIKV affected country.  The virus was of the Central/East African virus genotype [7,8].  Genomic sequencing showed that the amino acids sequence included a substitution mutation in the E1 envelope protein (E1-A226V) [10] which is important for viral entry into host cells.  This mutation was acquired during the large 2005-2006 Indian Ocean CHIKV outbreak and enabled the virus to infect the Ae. albopictus mosquito where previously it only infected the Ae. aegyptii [11].  Importantly, from this outbreak, it was shown that temperate regions are also susceptible to the CHIKV infections and not only tropical regions.  

CHIKV Outbreak in Emilia Romagna region of Northern Italy. Cavrini F. et al., JIDC 2009


History of CHIKV

Interestingly, CHIKV has been shown to infect and be transmitted by 2 species of mosquitoes:  Ae. aegyptii and Ae. albopictus mosquitoes.  Chikungunya was identified in East Africa in the early 1950s and since then has caused epidemics in continental Africa, the Indian Ocean region, and countries of Southeast Asia such as India where there has been an estimated 1.39 million cases (since 2006) [4,12–15] .  The only reported outbreak outside of these areas was in Italy in the Emilia Romagna region in 2007.  Small non-epidemic imported cases have been reported in other regions such as North America, France and Japan which were caused by travellers returning from affected areas [16–18]. 

The epidemic which occurred on La Reunion Island, Indian Ocean in 2005-2006 was a devastating CHIKV outbreak where over one-third of the population was affected [19].  During this outbreak, the CHIKV acquired a genetic mutation permiting the Ae. albopictus mosquito to carry the CHIKV.  Previously CHIKV only circulated in Ae. aegyptii mosquitoes [19,20].  CHIKV is now of global health concern since expansion of mosquito vectors has created potential for the Chikungunya virus to spread to temperate areas as Ae. albopitcus inhabits regions in North America and Europe [21,22].     

CHIKV Clinical Manifestations

The defining symptom of CHIKF is severe joint pain and as the severe joint pain increases the patient often takes a bent posture.  Chikungunya, a word originating from the Tanzanian and Mozambique region meaning that which bends up, describes this distorted posture[20].  Other symptoms of CHIKF include sudden appearance of high fever, rash, headache, nausea, vomiting, myalgia and arthalgia or severe joint pain.  Symptoms start 4 to 7 days following infection which defines the acute phase of CHIKF.  Importantly, the acute phase lasts approximately 2 weeks, joint pain can persist for months or years following initial infection [6,7,23]. 

CHIKV Immune Response and Treatments

Currently, the immune response for CHIKV infection remains largely uninvestigated and there is no specific treatment available.  Reported in 2010, Ravichandran R. and Manian M. investigated the use of the antiviral agent ribavirin in patients suffering from severe joint pain attributed to CHIKV infection [3].  The ribavirin treated patients had a faster resolution of joint pain and joint inflammation compared to a control patient group.     

Cytokines have also been investigated as possible therapeutic drug targets and or biomarkers for CHIKF [24,25].  Importantly, Cytokines are immune mediators that direct immune responses during infection.  Ng and colleagues found that IL-1b, IL-6 and RANTES were correlated with severe acute phase CHIKF during the Singapore 2007 CHIKV outbreak [25].  Recently it was reported the acute phase of CHIKV infection is characterized by a strong innate immune response leading to CD8 T cell adaptive immunity[26]. It is clear that the immune response toward CHIKV needs to be further investigation and the cytokine signatures validated as possible biomarkers and/or drug targets for CHIKF.

Chikungunya Virus Phylogenetics

Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a single-stranded positive-sense RNA virus where there are three genotypes transmitted by mosquitoes.  The virus is of the Alphavirus genus in the Togaviridae family [21,23]. 

 Thanks to the IRIN!


Do you have questions?  Or would you like to report and outbreak in your area?  Please contact JIDC and let us know!


Reference List


        1.    2011 June) IRIN.

        2.    Cavrini F, Gaibani P, Pierro AM, Rossini G, Landini MP, Sambri V (2009) Chikungunya: an emerging and spreading arthropod-borne viral disease. J Infect Dev Ctries 3: 744-752.

        3.    Ravichandran R, Manian M (2008) Ribavirin therapy for Chikungunya arthritis. J Infect Dev Ctries 2: 140-142.

        4.    Kumari R, Nand P, Mittal V, Lal S, Saxena VK (2010) The first Chikungunya case from Sonipat district near the national capital city of Delhi, India. J Infect Dev Ctries 4: 262-263.

        5.    Seyler T, Rizzo C, Finarelli AC, Po C, Alessio P, Sambri V, Ciofi Degli Atti ML, Salmaso S (2008) Autochthonous chikungunya virus transmission may have occurred in Bologna, Italy, during the summer 2007 outbreak. Euro Surveill 13.

        6.    Liumbruno GM, Calteri D, Petropulacos K, Mattivi A, Po C, Macini P, Tomasini I, Zucchelli P, Silvestri AR, Sambri V, Pupella S, Catalano L, Piccinini V, Calizzani G, Grazzini G (2008) The Chikungunya epidemic in Italy and its repercussion on the blood system. Blood Transfus 6: 199-210.

        7.    Sambri V, Cavrini F, Rossini G, Pierro A, Landini MP (2008) The 2007 epidemic outbreak of Chikungunya virus infection in the Romagna region of Italy: a new perspective for the possible diffusion of tropical diseases in temperate areas? New Microbiol 31: 303-304.

        8.    Bonilauri P, Bellini R, Calzolari M, Angelini R, Venturi L, Fallacara F, Cordioli P, Angelini P, Venturelli C, Merialdi G, Dottori M (2008) Chikungunya virus in Aedes albopictus, Italy. Emerg Infect Dis 14: 852-854.

        9.    Charrel RN, de L, X (2008) Chikungunya virus in north-eastern Italy: a consequence of seasonal synchronicity. Euro Surveill 13.

      10.    Bordi L, Carletti F, Castilletti C, Chiappini R, Sambri V, Cavrini F, Ippolito G, Di CA, Capobianchi MR (2008) Presence of the A226V mutation in autochthonous and imported Italian chikungunya virus strains. Clin Infect Dis 47: 428-429. 10.1086/589925 [doi].

      11.    Tsetsarkin KA, Vanlandingham DL, McGee CE, Higgs S (2007) A single mutation in chikungunya virus affects vector specificity and epidemic potential. PLoS Pathog 3: e201. 07-PLPA-RA-0664 [pii];10.1371/journal.ppat.0030201 [doi].

      12.    Demanou M, Antonio-Nkondjio C, Ngapana E, Rousset D, Paupy C, Manuguerra JC, Zeller H (2010) Chikungunya outbreak in a rural area of Western Cameroon in 2006: A retrospective serological and entomological survey. BMC Res Notes 3: 128. 1756-0500-3-128 [pii];10.1186/1756-0500-3-128 [doi].

      13.    Niyas KP, Abraham R, Unnikrishnan RN, Mathew T, Nair S, Manakkadan A, Issac A, Sreekumar E (2010) Molecular characterization of Chikungunya virus isolates from clinical samples and adult Aedes albopictus mosquitoes emerged from larvae from Kerala, South India. Virol J 7: 189. 1743-422X-7-189 [pii];10.1186/1743-422X-7-189 [doi].

      14.    Santhosh SR, Dash PK, Parida M, Khan M, Rao PV (2009) Appearance of E1: A226V mutant Chikungunya virus in Coastal Karnataka, India during 2008 outbreak. Virol J 6: 172. 1743-422X-6-172 [pii];10.1186/1743-422X-6-172 [doi].

      15.    2011) NVBDCP (2007).  Chikungunya fever situation in the country during 2006.

      16.    Parola P, de L, X, Jourdan J, Rovery C, Vaillant V, Minodier P, Brouqui P, Flahault A, Raoult D, Charrel RN (2006) Novel chikungunya virus variant in travelers returning from Indian Ocean islands. Emerg Infect Dis 12: 1493-1499.

      17.    Gibney KB, Fischer M, Prince HE, Kramer LD, St GK, Kosoy OL, Laven JJ, Staples JE (2011) Chikungunya fever in the United States: a fifteen year review of cases. Clin Infect Dis 52: e121-e126. ciq214 [pii];10.1093/cid/ciq214 [doi].

      18.    Mizuno Y, Kato Y, Takeshita N, Ujiie M, Kobayashi T, Kanagawa S, Kudo K, Lim CK, Takasaki T (2010) Clinical and radiological features of imported chikungunya fever in Japan: a study of six cases at the National Center for Global Health and Medicine. J Infect Chemother . 10.1007/s10156-010-0124-y [doi].

      19.    Schuffenecker I, Iteman I, Michault A, Murri S, Frangeul L, Vaney MC, Lavenir R, Pardigon N, Reynes JM, Pettinelli F, Biscornet L, Diancourt L, Michel S, Duquerroy S, Guigon G, Frenkiel MP, Brehin AC, Cubito N, Despres P, Kunst F, Rey FA, Zeller H, Brisse S (2006) Genome microevolution of chikungunya viruses causing the Indian Ocean outbreak. PLoS Med 3: e263. 06-PLME-RA-0242R1 [pii];10.1371/journal.pmed.0030263 [doi].

      20.    Thiboutot MM, Kannan S, Kawalekar OU, Shedlock DJ, Khan AS, Sarangan G, Srikanth P, Weiner DB, Muthumani K (2010) Chikungunya: a potentially emerging epidemic? PLoS Negl Trop Dis 4: e623. 10.1371/journal.pntd.0000623 [doi].

      21.    Sudeep AB, Parashar D (2008) Chikungunya: an overview. J Biosci 33: 443-449.

      22.    De L, X, Leroy E, Charrel RN, Ttsetsarkin K, Higgs S, Gould EA (2008) Chikungunya virus adapts to tiger mosquito via evolutionary convergence: a sign of things to come? Virol J 5: 33. 1743-422X-5-33 [pii];10.1186/1743-422X-5-33 [doi].

      23.    Cavrini F, Gaibani P, Pierro AM, Rossini G, Landini MP, Sambri V (2009) Chikungunya: an emerging and spreading arthropod-borne viral disease. J Infect Dev Ctries 3: 744-752.

      24.    Chirathaworn C, Rianthavorn P, Wuttirattanakowit N, Poovorawan Y (2010) Serum IL-18 and IL-18BP levels in patients with Chikungunya virus infection. Viral Immunol 23: 113-117. 10.1089/vim.2009.0077 [doi].

      25.    Ng LF, Chow A, Sun YJ, Kwek DJ, Lim PL, Dimatatac F, Ng LC, Ooi EE, Choo KH, Her Z, Kourilsky P, Leo YS (2009) IL-1beta, IL-6, and RANTES as biomarkers of Chikungunya severity. PLoS One 4: e4261. 10.1371/journal.pone.0004261 [doi].

      26.    Wauquier N, Becquart P, Nkoghe D, Padilla C, Ndjoyi-Mbiguino A, Leroy EM (2011) The acute phase of chikungunya virus infection in humans is associated with strong innate immunity and T CD8 cell activation. J Infect Dis 204: 115-123. jiq006 [pii];10.1093/infdis/jiq006 [doi].

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Connotea, free online reference tool


Today the JIDC Blog entry JIDC, Open Access and Open Access Week was listed on the Connetea website. 

Connotea is a free, online tool to organize science and medical references.  The site is helpful for maintaining and communicating references and even has a Blog authored by Marta Rolak.

Worth a peek!


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JIDC, Open Access and Open Access Week

Open Access Week

Hi Everyone!

JIDC is excited to be participating in Open Access Week and we invite you to join us!  As an Open Access Journal we knew JIDC had to take part in this exciting and important event.   

Open Access Week is an opportunity for anyone to gain awareness of the benefits of Open Access.  This includes the exchange of knowledge between academics and researchers.  Through Open Access week, JIDC is hoping to learn more about our readers and their needs.  As well, we are hoping Open Access Week will enable us to project what we can do for our readers, including the benefits of publishing in JIDC and our unique mentoring system.

Having Open Access status is central to JIDC’s philosophy.  Our published articles are immediately available and free online through our website, which fulfills the definition of Open Access.  The benefits of Open Access are numerous, allowing access of information to everyone and not solely to the wealthy. Open Access has the potential to radically change the pace of scientific discovery which branches to all areas of scientific research including microbiology, medicine and molecular biology.

If you are interested in learning more on Open Access or Open Access Week, visit the website:  Here you can register for Open Access Week, learn about JIDC and other group events, and see films on Open Access. 

Participating in Open Access Week, JIDC will be posting events on our JIDC group blog on the Open Access Website.  As well, I will also be posting our events and latest Open Access Week news on the our JIDC Blog which you can read here. 

We would love for you to join us at Open Access Week

If you have any question please contact me:


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JIDC Postcards: The JIDC Blog

Hi, and welcome to JIDC’s blog. Well, it’s not JIDC’s blog; it’s your blog!  It’s Postcards from researchers, students, and health care workers from around the world.  I am your host, Alyson Kelvin.

We are introducing JIDC Postcards to showcase international medicine and science.   These are the stories by people doing research and writing the papers.  JIDC Postcards will be written by students, researchers, professors, or members of the health care community such as nurses and doctors from any country.  Importantly, the JIDC blog as well as JIDC the journal is a platform for scientific communication between developing and developed countries.  Therefore, as with JIDC journal article publications, the JIDC blog is not limited to researchers in the developing countries.

Every week, JIDC Postcards will publish a new post describing science experiences from around the world.  The JIDC Postcards will be written in one of two formats:

  1. A story on the development of science/medicine in a particular community, region, or country.  This would showcase an individual’s research programs, the establishment of multi-investigator research centres, and/or the creation of community based medical programs.
  2. The second Postcard template will be formatted as a story capturing the international experience of science.  We are interested in hearing how training abroad has impacted an individual’s scientific career.  For instance, this type of post would describe a studentship, postdoc, or research training that was done abroad.

We are looking for JIDC Postcard writers!  Are you interested?

JIDC welcomes anyone from any country interested in writing a Science Postcard blog to apply.   If you would like to write a Science Postcard, please send a short bio to answering the question, “Why would you be a good JIDC Postcard writer?”  All blog posts must be approved by Professor Salvatore Rubino, Editor-in-Chief of JIDC.

I believe that science is developing in all areas of the world.  In countries of high and low economic wealth, science is developing to fit the location.  I hope to capture these developments through JIDC Postcards and create an international platform for the exchange of ideas from all countries.  Let’s develop science.



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