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Current Affairs

Global transmission of Chikungunya from India

Date: 16 June 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Studying the geographic distribution and evolution of the chikungunya virus over the period from 2005-2018, a team of researchers have noted India as an endemic reservoir for the virus with persistent global transmissions from the country. 

 

Background

The dispersal of the strains from India was noted to neighbouring and distant countries such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and China.

 

Details

  • The team studied newly sequenced chikungunya viruses isolated during outbreaks that happened between 2014 and 2018. During these years, the virus showed activity in India. Karnataka, Maharashtra and New Delhi accounted for a majority of the cases.

  • The whole-genome sequencing study revealed that the isolates belonged to the Indian subcontinent sub-lineage of the Indian Ocean lineage.

  • It was responsible for the resurgence in the epidemic on La Reunion Island and other neighbouring islands in the Indian Ocean and in the Indian sub-continent during 2004-2005. This study helped understand the overall evolution and epidemiology of the Indian Ocean lineage.

  • Analysis of whole genome sequence showed two separate clusters of Indian Ocean islands sub-lineage and Indian subcontinent sub-lineage.

  • It is already known that Kenya was the most likely ancestral location for both the sub-lineages, and the study further confirmed this.

  • The strains from these clusters were noted to have spread to China, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Southeast Asian countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Papua New Guinea beyond mid-2006.

  • Transmissions to Yemen, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Australia, Bangladesh and Italy were also noted later on.

  • Scientists say there is a possibility of further diversification as this is an RNA virus and continues to acquire mutations. They add and that surveillance is a continuous process and that their laboratory continues to monitor the changes in the viral strains.