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J Infect Dis. 2016 Dec 15;214(suppl 5):S471-S474.

Laboratory Diagnosis of Chikungunya Virus Infections and Commercial Sources for Diagnostic Assays.

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Diagnostic and Reference Laboratory, Arboviral Diseases Branch, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, Colorado.


Detection of chikungunya virus (CHIKV) or viral RNA is the primary laboratory test used to diagnose infection in serum collected <6 days after onset of illness. Two real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) kits are available commercially, but validity data are limited. There are 2 commercial sources of inactivated positive-control CHIKV RNA to be used with purchased primers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides viral RNA-positive controls and primer and probe nucleotide sequences for real-time RT-PCR testing. Detection of CHIKV-specific immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibody becomes a sensitive test for samples collected approximately >5 days of illness. Commercially available CHIKV IgM-detection assays include lateral flow rapid tests, IgM antibody capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (MAC-ELISAs), and indirect immunofluorescence tests. Nine commercial CHIKV IgM detection assays were evaluated at 3 reference laboratories to provide guidance to public health diagnostic laboratories on their performance parameters. Sensitivity of the rapid tests and 3 MAC-ELISAs was <50%, and thus these assays are not recommended. Three of the MAC-ELISA kits and 1 indirect immunofluorescence kit had comparable performance to the reference assays. In summary, commercial assays with performance comparable to reference assays are available for molecular and serological diagnosis of CHIKV infections.


Chikungunya virus; IgM antibody capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (MAC-ELISA); arbovirus diagnostic testing; real-time RT-PCR

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