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Clin Infect Dis. 2008 Aug 15;47(4):469-75. doi: 10.1086/590003.

Persistent arthralgia associated with chikungunya virus: a study of 88 adult patients on reunion island.

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Service de Pneumologie et Maladies Infectieuses, Groupe Hospitalier Sud Reunion, Saint Pierre, La RĂ©union, France.



An outbreak of chikungunya virus infection occurred on Reunion Island during the period 2005-2006. Persistent arthralgia after chikungunya virus infection has been reported, but few studies have treated this aspect of the disease.


Adult patients with laboratory-confirmed acute chikungunya virus infection who were referred to Groupe Hospitalier Sud Reunion during the period 2005-2006 were asked to participate in the study. Patients were assessed a mean of 18 months after acute disease occurred. Assessment consisted of answering questions on a standard form, undergoing a medical examination, and being tested for the presence of IgM antibodies to chikungunya virus.


Eighty-eight patients (mean age, 58.3 years; male-to-female ratio, 1.1:1.0) were included in this study. Fifty-eight patients (65.9%) had been hospitalized for acute chikungunya virus infection, and a history of arthralgia before chikungunya virus infection was reported by 39 patients (44%). Fifty-six patients (63.6%) reported persistent arthralgia related to chikungunya virus infection, and in almost one-half of the patients, the joint pain had a negative impact on everyday activities. Arthralgia was polyarticular in all cases, and pain was continuous in 31 patients (55.4%). Overall, 35 patients (39.7%) had test results positive for IgM antibodies to chikungunya virus.


Persistent and disabling arthralgia was a frequent concern in this cohort of patients who had experienced severe chikungunya virus infection approximately 18 months earlier. Further studies are needed to evaluate the prevalence of persistent arthralgia in the general population to determine the real burden of the disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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