The outbreak affects the populations of Comoros, Mayotte, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Réunion. It is much larger than any previous outbreak, with up to one third of the populations of those islands (several hundred thousand people) infected. More recently, several states of India have also reported cases of the disease.
The disease is caused by the chikungunya virus, which is spread to humans by mosquito bites. It was first described in Tanzania in 1952 and has since been found in Africa, India, and South East Asia. The name is derived from a local Tanzanian word meaning "that which bends up", a reference to the stooped posture many patients develop as a result of painful inflammation of the joints commonly associated with the disease. Other symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, and a skin rash. There is no specific treatment available. Most patients get better after a few days, but the pain in the joints can persist for long after the other symptoms have disappeared.
Brisse and colleagues determined the entire genetic sequence of six virus samples isolated from patients in different places (five from Réunion and one from the Seychelles) and different times (three from early 2005 and three from later in 2005) during the outbreak. They also sequenced one of the viral genes (called E1) from virus samples taken from an additional 121 patients. The results show that the outbreak began with a strain related to East-African strains of the virus which subsequently developed into several distinct variants. All of the Indian Ocean sequences share unique molecular features that differ from strains of the virus involved in earlier outbreaks and suggest how the virus could have become more "aggressive". Experiments are now underway to test which of these features might be responsible for the apparent increase in the virus’ ability to infect humans and cause disease.
As the authors note, the mosquitoes that transmit the Chikungunya virus in Africa and Asia are not limited to these areas--in fact they are the same ones that transmit yellow fever and dengue fever in many parts of the world--which raises the possibility that the chikungunya virus could spread and cause disease elsewhere.
Make way for the mini flying machines
21.03.2018 | American Chemical Society
New 4-D printer could reshape the world we live in
21.03.2018 | American Chemical Society
In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.
Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...
Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.
In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
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