Pacific Research Section, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Medical Ecology Department, U. S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 2, Honolulu, Hawaii 96806
Plaque reduction neutralization tests, using five group A arboviruses (chikungunya, Ross River, Getah, Bebaru and Sindbis), were done on sera from human populations in 44 Southeast Asia and Pacific island localities. Specificity of the plaque neutralization test was determined by examining convalescent sera from patients with known alphavirus infections. Chikungunya-specific neutralizing antibodies were demonstrated in sera of persons living in South Vietnam, Northern Malaysia, Indonesia (Kalimantan and Sulawesi), as well as Luzon, Marinduque, Cebu and Mindanao islands in the Philippines. Evidence of Ross River virus infection was found among populations living in West New Guinea and Papua New Guinea mainland, the Bismark Archipelago, Rossel Island and the Solomon Islands. There appeared to be no geographic overlap in the distribution of chikungunya and Ross River viruses, with the separation in their distribution corresponding with Weber's line in the Pacific. Sindbis neutralizing antibodies were found in 7 of 21 populations sampled, but in general the prevalence of infection was low. Four sera, from Vietnam, Malaysia and Mindanao gave monospecific reactions with Getah virus. No evidence of specific Bebaru virus infection was detected. The epidemiology of these five alphaviruses in Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands is discussed.