The Emergence of Chikungunya ECSA Lineage in a Mayaro Endemic Region on the Southern Border of the Amazon Forest

Trop Med Infect Dis. 2020 Jun 26;5(2):105. doi: 10.3390/tropicalmed5020105.


Anthropic changes on the edges of the tropical forests may facilitate the emergence of new viruses from the sylvatic environment and the simultaneous circulation of sylvatic and urban viruses in the human population. In this study, we investigated the presence of arboviruses (arthropod-borne viruses) in the sera of 354 patients, sampled from February 2014 to October 2018 in Sinop city. We sequenced the complete genomes of one chikungunya virus (CHIKV)-positive and one out of the 33 Mayaro virus (MAYV)-positive samples. The CHIKV genome obtained here belongs to the East/Central/South African (ECSA) genotype and the MAYV genome belongs to the L genotype. These genomes clustered with other viral strains from different Brazilian states, but the CHIKV strain circulating in Sinop did not cluster with other genomes from the Mato Grosso state, suggesting that at least two independent introductions of this virus occurred in Mato Grosso. Interestingly, the arrival of CHIKV in Sinop seems to not have caused a surge in human cases in the following years, as observed in the rest of the state, suggesting that cross immunity from MAYV infection might be protecting the population from CHIKV infection. These findings reinforce the need for continued genomic surveillance in order to evaluate how simultaneously circulating alphaviruses infecting the human population will unfold.

Keywords: alphaviruses emergence; arbovirus; human infection; molecular epidemiology.