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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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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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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.

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