[Microbiological diagnosis of chikungunya virus in Spain (2006-2007): case detection in travelers]

María Paz Sánchez-Seco, Ana Isabel Negredo, Sabino Puente, M A Jesús Pinazo, Isabelle Shuffenecker, Antonio Tenorio, Cesare Giovanni Fedele, Cristina Domingo, José Miguel Rubio, Fernando de Ory
Enfermedades Infecciosas y Microbiología Clínica 2009, 27 (8): 457-61

INTRODUCTION: The chikungunya virus is a clear example of an emergent pathogen, as demonstrated by the important outbreaks reported in recent years on some islands in the Indian Ocean, on the Indian subcontinent, and in Italy. The autochthonous outbreak that took place in Europe has shown that the international health authorities were right in their concern about the possibility that this arbovirus could become established in countries with a temperate climate where the appropriate vectors circulate.

METHODS: A total of 308 patients were studied to investigate symptoms consistent with infection by this virus occurring during their stay in, or after their return from, an endemic area. Molecular and/or serological methods were used to seek evidence of infection by chikungunya virus.

RESULTS: Twenty-nine positive cases were diagnosed. The molecular and serological tools are complementary: molecular technology generated positive results at the onset of symptoms and serology provided positive testing in samples with a longer evolution time.

CONCLUSION: The first cases of infection by chikungunya virus in Spanish travelers have been detected. The tools necessary for correct diagnosis of infection by this virus are available in our country.

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