Background: Chikungunya is an arbovirus, transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, which emerged in the Americas in 2013 and spread rapidly to almost every country on this continent. In Brazil, where the first cases were detected in 2014, it currently has reached all regions of this country and more than 900,000 cases were reported. The clinical spectrum of chikungunya ranges from an acute self-limiting form to disabling chronic forms. The purpose of this study was to estimate the seroprevalence of chikungunya infection in a large Brazilian city and investigate the association between viral circulation and living condition.
Methodology/principal findings: We conducted a population-based ecological study in selected Sentinel Areas (SA) through household interviews and a serologic survey in 2016/2017. The sample was of 1,981 individuals randomly selected. The CHIKV seroprevalence was 22.1% (17.1 IgG, 2.3 IgM, and 1.4 IgG and IgM) and varied between SA from 2.0% to 70.5%. The seroprevalence was significantly lower in SA with high living conditions compared to SA with low living condition. There was a positive association between CHIKV seroprevalence and population density (r = 0.2389; p = 0.02033).
Conclusions/significance: The seroprevalence in this city was 2.6 times lower than the 57% observed in a study conducted in the epicentre of the CHIKV epidemic of this same urban centre. So, the herd immunity in this general population, after four years of circulation of this agent is relatively low. It indicates that CHIKV transmission may persist in that city, either in endemic form or in the form of a new epidemic, because the vector infestation is persistent. Besides, the significantly lower seroprevalences in SA of higher Living Condition suggest that beyond the surveillance of the disease, vector control and specific actions of basic sanitation, the reduction of the incidence of this infection also depends on the improvement of the general living conditions of the population.