Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

First characterization of chikungunya viruses from Indian Ocean outbreak

23.05.2006
Since late 2004, a large outbreak of chikungunya fever in the Indian Ocean has caused a public health crisis and alarmed international experts. A team of scientists led by Sylvain Brisse (of the Pasteur Institute) now reports the first molecular data on the viruses involved in the outbreak in the international open-access journal PLoS Medicine.

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.

Andrew Hyde | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.plos.org
http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030263

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>