Joint pains caused by the chikungunya virus can also last for years after the initial infection according to a study published in PLOS Pathogens. The chikungunya virus causes an infection that results in fever, severe joint pain and any swelling and rash that usually occurs two to 12 days after exposure. The virus is spread in the human body by two species of mosquito, Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti.
According to the study produced by Deborah Lenschow, a researcher at the Washington University medical school in St. Louis, this is due to the fact that cells can survive the infection while continuing to host most of the virus’s RNA.
The researchers came to this conclusion by performing experiments on mice. Inside the body of the rats, they have marked the cells that survived the infection of the chikungunya virus, a mixture of muscle and skin cells. The researchers found that these cells continued to exist in the body of mice for at least 112 days after the initial inoculation of the virus.
After blocking the infection, the cells continued to contain most of the virus’s RNA.
This study will probably prove useful to better study the mechanisms underlying this chronic disease that occurs mainly in Asia and Africa and that was identified for the first time in Tanzania in 1952.