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Chikungunya Detected with Blotting Paper

March 21, 2023 • 12:22 pm CDT
by Muhammad Syafrani
(Vax Before Travel)

Despite recent improvements in diagnostic tools, chikungunya outbreaks in Africa are probably underreported, stated a U.S. CDC Early Release Dispatch, Volume 29, Number 4—April 2023.

During 2019–2020, a large-scale chikungunya outbreak occurred in Djibouti City, the capital city of the Republic of Djibouti, located in the Horn of Africa.

Djibouti is a semi-arid country bordered by Eritrea, Somalia, and Ethiopia. In this region, the primary vector of the chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is the Aedes aegypti mosquito. 

The chikungunya outbreak remained limited (attack rate 2.1%) but was followed by a dengue outbreak.

These researchers found clinical features helpful but insufficient to discriminate between chikungunya and dengue viruses.

However, CHIKV blood samples on blotting paper have been described as a field method for detecting arboviruses, routinely used in the French Armed Forces when deployed in Africa.

In this study, the researchers used blood samples on blotting paper to detect the emergence of CHIKV and monitor the course of the outbreaks.

Blotting paper provided a robust method for blood sampling and transport to a reference laboratory, making it possible to confirm 90% of the arboviral diagnoses.

We recommend blotting paper as a field tool to detect and monitor arboviral epidemics remotely, wrote these researchers.

Various countries, like Paraguay, are reporting chikungunya outbreaks in remote areas.

As of March 21, 2023, no chikungunya vaccines are authorized in Africa, Europe, or the U.S.