Chikungunya Infection: a Global Public Health Menace

  • A. J. Mathew
  • A. Ganapati
  • J. Kabeerdoss
  • A. Nair
  • N. Gupta
  • P. Chebbi
  • S. K. Mandal
  • Debashish Danda
Autoimmunity (TK Tarrant, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Autoimmunity


Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has been involved in epidemics in African and Asian subcontinents and, of late, has transcended to affect the Americas. Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus are the major vectors for CHIKV infection, which results in dissemination of virus to various vital organs. Entry of virus into these tissues causes infiltration of innate immune cells, monocytes, macrophages, neutrophils, natural killer cells, and adaptive immune cells. Macrophages bearing the replicating virus, in turn, secrete pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β, TNF-α, and IL-17. Together, this pro-inflammatory milieu induces osteoclastogenesis, bone loss, and erosion. CHIKV is characterized by fever, headache, myalgia, rash, and symmetric polyarthritis, which is generally self-limiting. In a subset of cases, however, musculoskeletal symptoms may persist for up to 3–5 years. Viral culture and isolation from blood cells of infected patients are the gold standards for diagnosis of CHIKV. In routine practice, however, assays for anti-CHIKV IgM antibodies are used for diagnosis, as elevated levels in blood of infected patients are noted from 10 days following infection for up to 3–6 months. Early diagnosis of CHIKV is possible by nucleic acid detection techniques. Treatment of acute CHIKV is mainly symptomatic, with analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs), and low-dose steroids. No vaccines or anti-viral medicines have been approved for clinical therapy in CHIKV as yet. Hydroxychloroquine and methotrexate have been used in chronic CHIKV infection with variable success.


Chikungunya virus Inflammatory arthritis Disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Drs. Mathew, Ganapati, Jayakanthan, Nair, Gupta, Chebbi, Mandal, and Danda declare no conflicts of interest relevant to this manuscript.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. J. Mathew
    • 1
  • A. Ganapati
    • 1
  • J. Kabeerdoss
    • 1
  • A. Nair
    • 1
  • N. Gupta
    • 1
  • P. Chebbi
    • 1
  • S. K. Mandal
    • 1
  • Debashish Danda
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Clinical Immunology and RheumatologyChristian Medical CollegeVelloreIndia

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