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Characterisation of a chikungunya virus from a German patient returning from Mauritius and development of a serological test

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Abstract

We have isolated a Chikungunya (Chik) virus from a patient who returned to Germany after a three-month visit to Mauritius in spring 2006. Upon return she developed a transient fever up to 40°C. This was followed by myalgia and joint pain. IgG antibodies in serum to Chik virus were undetectable. Virus (Chik-Wü1) was isolated on Vero cells. We molecularly cloned the whole genome of Chik-Wü1 from viral RNA by RT-PCR. The complete sequence was determined and functional domains of the genome were assigned. Chik-Wü1 clearly belongs to the group of viruses analysed from the recent Indian Ocean outbreak. In order to develop tools useful for further characterization of Chik-Wü1, we bacterially expressed and purified the capsid (C) and envelope (E) proteins and established an immunoblot assay. Twenty-two of 30 serum samples from Chik virus-infected patients that scored positive in indirect immunofluorescence previously were also reactive in immunoblot analysis with recombinant C and E2 antigens.

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Acknowledgments

We thank Kristin Kaufmann for helping in preparing the manuscript and Dr. Andreas Opitz, Department of Transfusion Medicine of the Würzburg University Hospital for providing the control serum samples.

Author information

Correspondence to Axel Rethwilm or Jochen Bodem.

Additional information

S. Kowalzik and N. V. Xuan contributed equally.

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Kowalzik, S., Xuan, N.V., Weissbrich, B. et al. Characterisation of a chikungunya virus from a German patient returning from Mauritius and development of a serological test. Med Microbiol Immunol 197, 381–386 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00430-008-0090-5

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Keywords

  • Chikungunya virus
  • Alphavirus
  • Togavirus
  • Nucleotide sequence
  • Recombinant proteins
  • Immunoblot