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Emerg Infect Dis. 2008 Mar;14(3):416-22. doi: 10.3201/eid1403.070906.

Chikungunya fever in travelers returning to Europe from the Indian Ocean region, 2006.

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Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Hamburg, Germany.


Chikungunya fever has spread through several Indian Ocean islands and India, including popular travel destinations. To compare usefulness of diagnostic tests and to understand reasons for the magnitude and severity of an outbreak, we used 3 diagnostic methods to test 720 samples from 680 patients returning to Europe from the Indian Ocean region in 2006. Chikungunya infection was confirmed for 24.4% patients in the first half of the year and for 9.9% in the second half. Reverse transcription-PCR was positive for all samples taken up to day 4 after symptom onset. Immunofluorescence detected immunoglobulin (Ig) M on day 1 and IgG on day 2 for some patients, and in all patients from day 5 onward. Soon after onset of symptoms, patients had IgG and IgM and high viral loads (some >10(9) copies/mL plasma). These data will help healthcare providers select diagnostic tests for returning travelers.

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