September 2, 2104 – Chikungunya


Anchor lead:  Chikungunya virus has now been transmitted in the US, but a vaccine is under development, Elizabeth Tracey reports

The first cases of direct transmission of Chikungunya virus infection in the US have been reported, and that means our mosquitos are becoming infected.  The virus, originally from Africa, has been causing high fevers and muscle and joint pain, for several months in the Caribbean, which some describe as excruciating or disabling.  Michael Klag, dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins, describes what‘s known so far.

Klag: It’s now adapted to be transmitted by a second species of mosquito, it’s here in the US, and there’s a phase one study that’s just been reported in the Lancet, very small, 25 healthy volunteers, and they received this new vaccine which is small nanoparticles, which consist of proteins that are in the coat of the Chikungunga virus.  In the majority of people who were treated neutralizing antibodies were detected and they were longlasting.   :25

Klag says for now, avoiding mosquito bites is the best strategy.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.