Seroprevalence and Symptomatic Attack Rate of Chikungunya Virus Infection, United States Virgin Islands, 2014–2015

Morgan J. Hennessey, Esther M. Ellis, Mark J. Delorey, Amanda J. Panella, Olga I. Kosoy, Hannah L. Kirking, Grace D. Appiah, Jin Qin, Alison J. Basile, Leora R. Feldstein, Brad J. Biggerstaff, Robert S. Lanciotti, Marc Fischer, J. Erin Staples

American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

November 5, 2018


When introduced into a naïve population, chikungunya virus generally spreads rapidly, causing large outbreaks of fever and severe polyarthralgia. We randomly selected households in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) to estimate seroprevalence and symptomatic attack rate for chikungunya virus infection at approximately 1 year following the introduction of the virus. Eligible household members were administered a questionnaire and tested for chikungunya virus antibodies. Estimated proportions were calibrated to age and gender of the population. We enrolled 509 participants. The weighted infection rate was 31% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 26–36%). Among those with evidence of chikungunya virus infection, 72% (95% CI: 65–80%) reported symptomatic illness and 31% (95% CI: 23–38%) reported joint pain at least once per week approximately 1 year following the introduction of the virus to USVI. Comparing rates from infected and noninfected study participants, 70% (95% CI: 62–79%) of fever and polyarthralgia and 23% (95% CI: 9–37%) of continuing joint pain in patients infected with chikungunya virus were due to their infection. Overall, an estimated 43% (95% CI: 33–52%) of the febrile illness and polyarthralgia in the USVI population during the outbreak was attributable to chikungunya virus and only 12% (95% CI: 7–17%) of longer term joint pains were attributed to chikungunya virus. Although the rates of infection, symptomatic disease, and longer term joint symptoms identified in USVI are similar to other outbreaks of the disease, a lower proportion of acute fever and joint pain was found to be attributable to chikungunya virus.