Epidemiological Evidence for Lineage-Specific Differences in the Risk of Inapparent Chikungunya Virus Infection.


Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an understudied threat to human health. During the 2015 chikungunya epidemic in Managua, Nicaragua, we estimated the ratio of symptomatic to asymptomatic CHIKV infections, which is important for understanding transmission dynamics and the public health impact of CHIKV. This index cluster study identified and monitored persons at risk of infection, enabling capture of asymptomatic infections. We estimated that 31 (49%) of 63 at-risk participants had asymptomatic CHIKV infections, which is significantly outside the 3% to 28% range reported in literature reviews. However, recent seroprevalence studies, including two large pediatric cohort studies in the same setting, had also found percentages of inapparent infections outside the 3% to 28% range. Bayesian and simulation analyses, informed by a systematic literature search, revealed that the percentage of inapparent infections in epidemic settings varies by CHIKV phylogenetic lineage. Our study quantifies and provides the first epidemiological evidence that chikungunya epidemic characteristics are strongly influenced by CHIKV lineage.

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