BITING ARTHROPODS: SENSORY ECOLOGY AND SURVEILLANCE
Location: Mosquito and Fly Research Unit
Title: Globalization of Chikungunya Virus: Threat to the U.S.
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 28, 2010
Publication Date: March 28, 2010
Citation: Linthicum, K., Chretien, J., Anyamba, A. 2010. Globalization of Chikungunya Virus: Threat to the U.S. 76th Annual Meeting of the American Mosquito Control Association in Lexington, Kentucky on March 28 - April 1, 2010; pg. 14.
In August, 2004, Kenyan health authorities and partners identified chikungunya virus as the cause of the febrile epidemic in a coastal island city. The virus is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes in tropical Africa and Asia; the fever is rarely fatal but can incapacitate for weeks. Control was delayed, in part, because chikungunya fever clinically resembles endemic diseases, such as malaria and dengue. The epidemic spread to Indian Ocean islands and India, where it continues, and more than 1 million cases are suspected. As infected travelers returned from epidemic areas to temperate regions, concern developed that local mosquitoes could sustain disease transmission. Aedes aegypti, the likely vector in Kenya, occurs throughout the tropics and subtropics. Aedes albopictus was implicated in the subsequent outbreak on Reunion Island that affected 265,000 people. Aided by tire shipments, the native Asian mosquito inhabits Pacific islands, parts of Africa and Latin America, 14 European countries, and 28 US States. In June 2007, an outbreak of chikungunya fever occurred in Italy, the first reported in a temperate country. The chain of chikungunya fever outbreaks from Kenya to Italy reflects a convergence of factors. Among them are rapid international transport, previous introduction of exotic mosquito species, inadequate mosquito control, and climatic conditions. We discuss the potential threat that chikungunya virus poses to the U.S.