Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), a mosquito borne arbovirus that causes chikungunya fever. Considerable attention has been focused upon CHIKV in the last few years due to re-emergence of massive outbreaks of CHIKV reported especially in countries around the Indian Ocean, Asia, southern Europe, and most recently in the Caribbean. CHIKV infection causes a range of clinical manifestations including fever, headache and photophobia, may additionally include maculopapular or petechial rashes, myalgia, gastrointestinal complaints and edema of the extremities. A long-lasting polyalthralgia which may persist for months or even years is a hallmark of CHIKV infection and serves to discriminate it from the clinically similar dengue fever.

Although normally a relatively self-limiting disease, more severe complications including encephalopathy and occasional deaths have been reported over the last decade. Malaysia first reported outbreak of CHIKV in the late 1998 to 1999 and the re-emergence of the endemic CHIKV was reported in 2007. In 2009, Sarawak experienced an outbreak of CHKIV. During the initial onset of the outbreak, IHCM was invited by the Sarawak Public Health authorities to help investigate the etiologic cause of the outbreak. IHCM’s current research interest in CHIK focuses on the molecular epidemiology and molecular diagnostics for use in differential diagnosis of CHIK and DENV.