No Evidence of O’nyong-Nyong Viremia among Children with Febrile Illness in Kenya (2015–2018)

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  • 1 Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California;
  • 2 Centre for Global Health Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kisumu, Kenya;
  • 3 Department of Environment and Health Sciences, Technical University of Mombasa, Mombasa, Kenya;
  • 4 Msambweni County Referral Hospital, Msambweni, Kenya;
  • 5 Diani Health Center, Ukunda, Kenya;
  • 6 Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California;
  • 7 Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California

O’nyong-nyong virus (ONNV) is a little-known arbovirus causing intermittent, yet explosive, outbreaks in Africa. It is closely related to chikungunya virus, an emerging infectious disease. O’nyong-nyong virus causes a self-limited illness characterized by bilateral polyarthritis, rash, low-grade fever, and lymphadenopathy. In 1959, an extensive outbreak of ONNV occurred in East Africa, and decades later, another large outbreak was documented in Uganda in 1996. Limited evidence for interepidemic transmission is available, although serologic studies indicate a high prevalence of exposure; 1,045 febrile child participants in western and coastal Kenya were tested for the presence of ONNV using a multiplexed real-time reverse transcriptase–PCR assay. More than half of the participants had malaria parasitemia, and there was no evidence of active ONNV viremia in these participants. Further work is required to better understand the interepidemic circulation of ONNV and to reconcile evidence of high serologic exposure to ONNV among individuals in East Africa.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Melisa M. Shah, Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine, Stanford University, 300 Pasteur Dr., Lane 134, Stanford, CA 94305. E-mail: melisa.shah@gmail.com

Authors’ addresses: Melisa M. Shah, Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, E-mail: melisa.shah@gmail.com. Bryson A. Ndenga, Victoria Okuta, and Charles O. Ronga, Centre for Global Health Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kisumu, Kenya, E-mails: bndenga@yahoo.com, victoriaokuta7@gmail.com, and rongacharles@yahoo.com. Francis M. Mutuku, Department of Environment and Health Sciences, Technical University of Mombasa, Mombasa, Kenya, E-mail: fmutuku73@gmail.com. Philip K. Chebii and Priscilla Maina, Msambweni County Referral Hospital, Msambweni, Kwale County, Kenya, E-mails: chebiik@yahoo.com and pirimaina@gmail.com. Zainab Jembe, Diani Health Center, Ukunda, Kwale County, Kenya, E-mail: zainabjembe@gmail.com. Malaya K. Sahoo, ChunHong Huang, and Jenna Weber, Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, E-mails: mksahoo@stanford.edu, chhuang@stanford.edu, and jmicweber@gmail.com. Benjamin A. Pinsky, Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, E-mail: bpinsky@stanford.edu. Angelle Desiree LaBeaud, Department of Pediatrics Infectious Diseases, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, E-mail: dlabeaud@stanford.edu.

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