Chikungunya virus: Update on molecular biology, epidemiology and current strategies

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Debora Stelitano
Annalisa Chianese
Roberta Astorri
Enrica Serretiello
Carla Zannella
Veronica Folliero
Marilena Galdiero
Gianluigi Franci
Valeria Crudele
Mariateresa Vitiello *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Mariateresa Vitiello | mteresa.vitiello@gmail.com

Abstract

Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), an arthropod-borne virus, is the aetiological agent of a disease characterized by several aspecific symptoms including fever, myalgia and arthralgia. The virus is primarily transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito of Aedes genus. This virus was first isolated in Tanzania in 1953, from which it spread to other African countries, Asia, Northern and Southern America, Europe and Oceania. Today, many human cases of CHIKV infection have been identified. The diffusion of CHIKV across the world, including Italy, is due to multiple factors amongst which the wide distribution of its vectors and high transmission efficiency play a crucial role. Currently, there are no specific treatments and effective vaccines against CHIKV; indeed, available therapies allow symptoms mitigation and some promising vaccines are undergoing clinical trials. The purpose of this review is to offer an updated picture of CHIKV molecular biology, epidemiology and vector distribution, clinical features and strategies for infection prevention and treatment.


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