Document Type



Pathology and Microbiology; Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; Department of Medicine


Background: Arboviruses are a cause of acute febrile illness and outbreaks worldwide. Recent outbreaks of Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) in dengue endemic areas have alarmed clinicians as unique clinical features differentiating CHIKV from Dengue virus (DENV) are limited. This has complicated diagnostic efforts especially in resource limited countries where lab testing is not easily available. Therefore, it is essential to analyse and compare clinical features of laboratory confirmed cases to assist clinicians in suspecting possible CHIKV infection at time of clinical presentation.
Methodology: A prospective point prevalence study was conducted, with the hypothesis that not all patients presenting with clinical suspicion of dengue infections at local hospitals are suffering from dengue and that other arboviruses such as Chikungunya, West Nile viruses, Japanese Encephalitis virus and Zika virus are co-circulating in the Sindh region of Pakistan. Out-patients and hospitalized (in-patients) of selected district hospitals in different parts of Sindh province of Pakistan were recruited. Patients with presumptive dengue like illness (Syndromic diagnosis) by the treating physicians were enrolled between 2015 and 2017. Current study is a subset of larger study mentioned above. Here-in we compared laboratory confirmed cases of CHIKV and DENV to assess clinical features and laboratory findings that may help differentiate CHIKV from DENV infection at the time of clinical presentation.
Results: Ninety-eight (n = 98) cases tested positive for CHIKV, by IgM and PCR and these were selected for comparative analysis with DENV confirmed cases (n = 171). On multivariable analysis, presence of musculoskeletal [OR = 2.5 (95% CI:1.6-4.0)] and neurological symptoms [OR = 4.4 (95% CI:1.9-10.2)], and thrombocytosis [OR = 2.2 (95% CI:1.1-4.0)] were associated with CHIKV infection, while atypical lymphocytes [OR = 8.3 (95% CI:4.2-16.7)] and thrombocytopenia [OR = 8.1 (95% CI:1.7-38.8)] were associated with DENV cases at time of presentation. These findings may help clinicians in differentiating CHIKV from DENV infection.
Conclusion: CHIKV is an important cause of illness amongst patients presenting with acute febrile illness in Sindh region of Pakistan. Arthralgia and encephalitis at time of presentation among patients with dengue-like illness should prompt suspicion of CHIKV infection, and laboratory confirmation must be sought.


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PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.