Chikungunya Outbreak in the Republic of the Congo, 2019—Epidemiological, Virological and Entomological Findings of a South-North Multidisciplinary Taskforce Investigation

Vairo, F and Aimè Coussoud-Mavoungou, M P and Ntoumi, F and Castilletti, C and Kitembo, L and Haider, N and Carletti, F and Colavita, F and Gruber, C E M and Iannetta, M and Messina, F and Lanini, S and Ulrich Judicaël, B and Giombini, E and Montaldo, C and Portella, C and Diafouka-Diatela, S and Rueca, M and Kock, R and Bartolini, B and Mboera, L and Munster, V and Fischer, R and Seifert, S and Muñoz-Fontela, C and Escudero-Pérez, B and Gomez-Medina, S and Nelson, E V and Kjia Tungu, P and Nicastri, E and Puro, V and Di Caro, A and Capobianchi, M R and Mikolo, J L and Zumla, A and Ippolito, G (2020) Chikungunya Outbreak in the Republic of the Congo, 2019—Epidemiological, Virological and Entomological Findings of a South-North Multidisciplinary Taskforce Investigation. Viruses, 12 (9). p. 1020. ISSN 1999-4915

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.3390/v12091020

Abstract

The Republic of Congo (RoC) declared a chikungunya (CHIK) outbreak on 9 February 2019. We conducted a ONE-Human-Animal HEALTH epidemiological, virological and entomological investigation. Methods: We collected national surveillance and epidemiological data. CHIK diagnosis was based on RT-PCR and CHIKV-specific antibodies. Full CHIKV genome sequences were obtained by Sanger and MinION approaches and Bayesian tree phylogenetic analysis was performed. Mosquito larvae and 215 adult mosquitoes were collected in different villages of Kouilou and Pointe-Noire districts and estimates of Aedes (Ae.) mosquitos’ CHIKV-infectious bites obtained. We found two new CHIKV sequences of the East/Central/South African (ECSA) lineage, clustering with the recent enzootic sub-clade 2, showing the A226V mutation. The RoC 2019 CHIKV strain has two novel mutations, E2-T126M and E2-H351N. Phylogenetic suggests a common origin from 2016 Angola strain, from which it diverged around 1989 (95% HPD 1985–1994). The infectious bite pattern was similar for 2017, 2018 and early 2019. One Ae. albopictus pool was RT-PCR positive. The 2019 RoC CHIKV strain seems to be recently introduced or be endemic in sylvatic cycle. Distinct from the contemporary Indian CHIKV isolates and in contrast to the original Central-African strains (transmitted by Ae. aegypti), it carries the A226V mutation, indicating an independent adaptive mutation in response to vector replacement (Ae. albopictus vs Ae. aegypti).

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