Volume 100, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



In 2016, a chikungunya virus (CHIKV) outbreak was reported in Mandera, Kenya. This was the first major CHIKV outbreak in the country since the global reemergence of this virus in Kenya in 2004. We collected samples and sequenced viral genomes from this outbreak. All Kenyan genomes contained two mutations, E1:K211E and E2:V264A, recently reported to have an association with increased infectivity, dissemination, and transmission in the vector. Phylogeographic inference of temporal and spatial virus relationships showed that this variant emerged within the East, Central, and South African lineage between 2005 and 2008, most probably in India. It was also in India where the first large outbreak caused by this virus appeared, in New Delhi, 2010. More importantly, our results also showed that this variant is no longer contained to India. We found it present in several major outbreaks, including the 2016 outbreaks in Pakistan and Kenya, and the 2017 outbreak in Bangladesh. Thus, this variant may have a capability of driving large CHIKV outbreaks in different regions of the world. Our results point to the importance of continued genomic-based surveillance and prompt urgent vector competence studies to assess the level of vector susceptibility and virus transmission, and the impact this might have on this variant’s epidemic potential and global spread.

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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Supplemental appendix

  • Received : 10 Dec 2018
  • Accepted : 18 Jan 2019
  • Published online : 11 Mar 2019

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