Global distribution and environmental suitability for chikungunya virus, 1952 to 2015

Euro Surveill. 2016 May 19;21(20):10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2016.21.20.30234. doi: 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2016.21.20.30234.


Chikungunya fever is an acute febrile illness caused by the chikungunya virus (CHIKV), which is transmitted to humans by Aedes mosquitoes. Although chikungunya fever is rarely fatal, patients can experience debilitating symptoms that last from months to years. Here we comprehensively assess the global distribution of chikungunya and produce high-resolution maps, using an established modelling framework that combines a comprehensive occurrence database with bespoke environmental correlates, including up-to-date Aedes distribution maps. This enables estimation of the current total population-at-risk of CHIKV transmission and identification of areas where the virus may spread to in the future. We identified 94 countries with good evidence for current CHIKV presence and a set of countries in the New and Old World with potential for future CHIKV establishment, demonstrated by high environmental suitability for transmission and in some cases previous sporadic reports. Aedes aegypti presence was identified as one of the major contributing factors to CHIKV transmission but significant geographical heterogeneity exists. We estimated 1.3 billion people are living in areas at-risk of CHIKV transmission. These maps provide a baseline for identifying areas where prevention and control efforts should be prioritised and can be used to guide estimation of the global burden of CHIKV.

Keywords: arboviral diseases; chikungunya virus; emerging or re-emerging diseases; spatial modelling; surveillance.

MeSH terms

  • Aedes / virology*
  • Animals
  • Chikungunya Fever / prevention & control
  • Chikungunya Fever / transmission*
  • Chikungunya Fever / virology
  • Chikungunya virus*
  • Geography
  • Global Health*
  • Humans
  • Insect Vectors / virology*
  • Sentinel Surveillance