Two distinct lineages of chikungunya virus cocirculated in Aruba during the 2014-2015 epidemic
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), a positive-sense, single-stranded RNA virus in the family Togaviridae, is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. Of three known CHIKV genotypes, the Asian genotype was introduced into the Caribbean islands and rapidly spread throughout Central and South Americas. We previously found patients with symptoms compatible with chikungunya fever in 2014-2015 in Aruba, a Caribbean island of 180 km2. We here describe the full genome sequences of eight CHIKV strains isolated from patient sera of the Aruban outbreak. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that two closely related but distinct lineages of Asian-genotype CHIKV circulated simultaneously during the epidemic in 2014-2015. These results suggested that CHIKV was introduced into Aruba more than once in a short period, reflecting the importance of Aruba as a travel hub within the region.