Chikungunya: Its History in Africa and Asia and Its Spread to New Regions in 2013-2014

J Infect Dis. 2016 Dec 15;214(suppl 5):S436-S440. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiw391.


Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is transmitted by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes and causes febrile illness with severe arthralgia in humans. There are 3 circulating CHIKV genotypes, Asia, East/Central/South Africa, and West Africa. CHIKV was first reported in 1953 in Tanzania, and up until the early 2000s, a few outbreaks and sporadic cases of CHIKV were mainly reported in Africa and Asia. However, from 2004 to 2005, a large epidemic spanned from Kenya over to the southwestern Indian Ocean region, India, and Southeast Asia. Identified in 2005, the E1 glycoprotein A226V mutation of the East/Central/South Africa genotype conferred enhanced transmission by the A. albopictus mosquito and has been implicated in CHIKV's further spread in the last decade. In 2013, the Asian CHIKV genotype emerged in the Caribbean and quickly took the Americas by storm. This review will discuss the history of CHIKV as well as its expanding geographic distribution.

Keywords: Africa; Asia; chikungunya; epidemiology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aedes / virology
  • Africa, Eastern / epidemiology
  • Africa, Western / epidemiology
  • Animals
  • Chikungunya Fever / epidemiology*
  • Chikungunya Fever / transmission
  • Chikungunya Fever / virology*
  • Chikungunya virus / classification
  • Chikungunya virus / genetics*
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Kenya / epidemiology
  • Mosquito Vectors / virology
  • Phylogeny
  • South Africa / epidemiology
  • Tanzania / epidemiology