Prospective Study of Chikungunya Virus Acute Infection in the Island of La Réunion during the 2005–2006 Outbreak

Institut Pasteur, France
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 10/2009; 4(10):e7603. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007603
Source: PubMed


Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a recently re-emerged arthropod borne virus responsible for a massive outbreak in the Indian Ocean and India, and extended to Southeast Asia as well as Italy. CHIKV has adapted to Aedes albopictus, an anthropophilic mosquito species widely distributed in Asia, Europe, Africa and America. Our objective was to determine the clinical and biological features of patients at the acute phase of CHIKV infection.
A prospective study enrolled 274 consecutive patients with febrile arthralgia recorded at the Emergency Department of the Groupe Hospitalier Sud-Réunion between March and May 2006. Three groups were defined: one group of 180 viremic patients (positive CHIKV RT-PCR), one group of 34 patients with acute post-viremic infection (negative CHIKV RT-PCR, positive anti-CHIKV IgM and negative IgG), and one group of 46 uninfected patients (negative CHIKV RT-PCR, anti-CHIKV IgM and IgG). Bivariate analyses of clinical and biological features between groups were performed. Patients with CHIKV viremia presented typically with asymmetrical bilateral polyarthralgia (96.5%) affecting the lower (98%) and small joints (74.8%), as well as asthenia (88.6%), headache (70%), digestive trouble (63.3%), myalgia (59%), exanthems (47.8%), conjunctival hyperhemia (23%) and adenopathy (8.9%). Vertigo, cutaneous dysesthesia, pharyngitis and haemorrhages were seldom observed. So far unreported symptoms such as chondrocostal arthralgia (20%), entesopathies (1.6%), talalgia (14%) were also noted. Prurit was less frequent during the viremic than post-viremic phase (13.9% vs. 41.2%; p<0.001), whereas lymphopenia was more frequent (87.6% vs. 39.4%; p<0.001). Others biological abnormalities included leukopenia (38.3%), thrombocytopenia (37.3%), increased ASAT and ALAT blood levels (31.6 and 7.3%, respectively) and hypocalcemia (38.7%). Lymphopenia <1,000/mm(3) was very closely associated with viremic patients (Yule coefficient 0.82, positive predictive value 92.3%). Age under 65 was associated with a benign course, as no patients younger than 65 had to be hospitalized (Yule coefficient 0.78).
The diagnosis of CHIKV infection in acute phase is based on commonly accepted clinical criteria (fever and arthralgia), however clinical and biological diffrences exist in acute phase depending on whether or not the patient is within the viremic phase of the infection.

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    • "This relationship may involve the pivotal action of IL-6 in the recovery phase of infection [35,36,38], which favours the switch from innate to adaptive immunity leading to B cell expansion and IgG3 production [35]. Although controversial, IL-6 secretion at the acute stage may also explain the concomitant increase in CRP level [5,43] and its predictive value for CHIK-R [15,31]. "
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