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Abstract

Introduction:

Zika virus (ZIKV) and Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) can share the same mosquito vector, and co-infections by these viruses can occur in humans. While infections with these viruses share commonalities, CHIKV is unique in causing arthritis and arthralgias that may persist for a year or more. These infections are commonly diagnosed by RT–PCR-based methods during the acute phase of infection. Even with the high specificity and sensitivity characteristic of PCR, false negatives can occur, highlighting the need for additional diagnostic methods for confirmation.

Case presentation:

On her return to the USA, a traveller to Colombia, South America developed an illness consistent with Zika, Chikungunya and/or Dengue. RT-PCR of her samples was positive only for ZIKV. However, arthralgias persisted for months, raising concerns about co-infection with CHIKV or Mayaro viruses. Cell cultures inoculated with her original clinical samples demonstrated two types of cytopathic effects, and both ZIKV and CHIKV were identified in the supernatants. On phylogenetic analyses, both viruses were found to be related to strains found in Colombia.

Conclusion:

These findings highlight the need to consider CHIKV co-infection in patients with prolonged rheumatological symptoms after diagnosis with ZIKV, and the usefulness of cell culture as an amplification step for low-viremia blood and other samples.

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2016-12-01
2019-10-14
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