Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 25911440
Infect. Genet. Evol. 2015 Jul;33:25-31
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an alphavirus transmitted by the bite of mosquito vectors. Over the past 10years, the virus has gained mutations that enhance its transmissibility by the Aedes albopictus vector, resulting in massive outbreaks in the Indian Ocean, Asia and Central Africa. Recent introduction of competent A. albopictus vectors into the Central African Republic (CAR) pose a threat of a Chikungunya fever (CHIKF) epidemic in this region. We undertook this study to assess the genetic diversity and background of CHIKV strains isolated in the CAR between 1975 and 1984 and also to estimate the ability of local strains to adapt to A. albopictus. Our results suggest that, local CHIKV strains have a genetic background compatible with quick adaptation to A. albopictus, as previously observed in other Central African countries. Intense surveillance of the human and vector populations is necessary to prevent or anticipate the emergence of a massive CHIKF epidemic in the CAR.