Arthralgia resolution rate following chikungunya virus infection

Int J Infect Dis. 2021 Sep 4;S1201-9712(21)00699-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2021.08.066. Online ahead of print.


Background: Arthralgia, persistent pain or stiffness of joints, is the hallmark symptom of chronic chikungunya virus (CHIKV) disease. Associated with significant disability and reduced quality of life, arthralgia can persist for many months following CHIKV infection. Understanding the expected duration of arthralgia persistence is important for managing clinical expectations at the individual-level as well as for estimating long-term burdens on population health following a CHIKV epidemic.

Methods: We conducted a review of cohort studies that reported the prevalence of arthralgia post-CHIKV infection over multiple time points. Generalized linear models were used to estimate the average rate of arthralgia resolution following CHIKV infection.

Results: Sixteen cohort studies matching the inclusion criteria were identified and included in the analysis. We estimate an average rate of arthralgia resolution of 10.85% (95%CI: 9.05-12.66%) per month across studies, corresponding to an expected median time to arthralgia resolution of 6.39 months (95%CI: 5.48-7.66) and an expected arthralgia prevalence of 72.21% (95%CI: 68.40-76.23%) at 3 months post-CHIKV infection.

Conclusions: We derive estimates of the average rate of arthralgia resolution and the expected prevalence of arthralgia over time post-CHIKV infection. These can help inform expectations regarding the long-term public health burdens associated with CHIKV epidemics.

Keywords: Chikungunya; arthralgia; chronic disease; infection; joint pain; virus.