Multiple chikungunya virus introductions in Lao PDR from 2014 to 2020

PLoS One. 2022 Jul 15;17(7):e0271439. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0271439. eCollection 2022.


The first documented chikungunya virus (CHIKV) outbreak in Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) occurred in 2012-2013. Since then, several imported and a few autochthonous cases were identified by the national arbovirus surveillance network. The present study aimed to summarize the main genetic features of the CHIKV strains detected in Lao PDR between 2014 and 2020. Samples from Lao patients presenting symptoms compatible with a CHIKV infection were centralized in Vientiane Capital city for real-time RT-PCR screening. Molecular epidemiology was performed by sequencing the E2-6K-E1 region. From 2014 to 2020, two Asian lineage isolates (e.g. French Polynesia; Indonesia), one ECSA-IOL lineage isolate (e.g. Thailand) and one unclassified (e.g. Myanmar) were imported in Vientiane Capital city. Sequences from the autochthonous cases recorded in the Central and Southern parts of the country between July and September 2020 belonged to the ECSA-IOL lineage and clustered with CHIKV strains recently detected in neighboring countries. These results demonstrate the multiple CHIKV introductions in Lao PDR since 2014 and provide evidence for sporadic and time-limited circulation of CHIKV in the country. Even if the circulation of CHIKV seems to be geographically and temporally limited in Lao PDR, the development of international tourism and trade may cause future outbreaks of CHIKV in the country and at the regional level.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chikungunya Fever* / epidemiology
  • Chikungunya virus* / genetics
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Humans
  • Laos / epidemiology
  • Phylogeny

Grants and funding

MG received funding from the Agence Française de Développement grant n° CZZ 2146 01 (Ecomore2 project). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.