|Linthicum, Kenneth - Ken|
Submitted to: American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2006
Publication Date: 3/15/2007
Citation: Chretien, J., Anyamba, A., Bedno, S.A., Breiman, R.F., Sang, R., Sergon, K., Powers, A.M., Onyango, C.O., Small, J., Tucker, C.J., Linthicum, K. 2007. Drought-associated chikungunya emergence along coastal East Africa. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 76(3):405-407. Interpretive Summary: During 2005 and 2006 an extensive outbreak of chikungunya fever, a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, infected hundreds of thousands of people in the western Indian Ocean islands and India. We studied the ecology and climate associated with this outbreak of disease and discovered that unusually dry and warm conditions preceded the outbreak which started along the coast of Kenya. We believe that drought affected populations may be at an increased risk for chikungunya fever, and it is important to store water under these conditions in containers that don’t produce mosquitoes.
Technical Abstract: Epidemics of chikungunya fever, an Aedes spp.-borne viral disease, affected hundreds of thousands of people in western Indian Ocean islands and India during 2005--2006. The initial outbreaks occurred in coastal Kenya (Lamu, then Mombasa) in 2004. We investigated ecoclimatic conditions associated with chikungunya fever emergence along coastal Kenya using epidemiologic investigations and satellite data. Unusually dry, warm conditions preceded the outbreaks, including the driest since 1998 for some of the coastal regions. Infrequent replenishment of domestic water stores and elevated temperatures may have facilitated chikungunya virus transmission. These results suggest that drought-affected populations may be at heightened risk for chikungunya fever, and underscore the need for safe water storage during drought relief operations.