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Chikungunya virus PCR test
primate assay data sheet

Chikungunya virus

Test code:
S0203 - Ultrasensitive qualitative detection of chikungunya virus by reverse transcription coupled real time polymerase chain reaction

Chikungunya virus is transmitted by mosquito. The most common symptoms of chikungunya infection are fever and joint pain, which can be excruciating, leading to the colloquial name “breakbone fever.” Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, and rash. Chikungunya means "that which bends up" or "to be contorted" in the Kimakonde language and was first described in the 1950s in Tanzania. Chikungunya is an RNA virus in the Alphavirus genus of the Togaviridae family.

In 2013, chikungunya viral infection was reported in humans in the Caribbean. The virus quickly spread to almost every island, with many cases found in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. In 2014, cases of this viral infection started to be reported in Central and South America and it quickly became endemic. As of September 5, 2014, the Pan American Health Organization had confirmed 8210 cases and 37 deaths resulting from chikungunya viral infection, with 751 reported cases in the continental United States, mostly in southern Florida.

Viral infection of nonhuman primates is possible; serological survey of wild-caught monkeys in Southeast Asia has shown widespread exposure to this virus. The first report of chikungunya virus isolation from non-human primates was published in 2009 in Malaysia (Apandi et al., 2009), and cross-transmission between human and monkey through mosquitoes was then proposed.

Diagnosis of chikungunya viral infection is mostly based on serological and PCR techniques. Viral culture followed by viral antigen detection is a sensitive method but must be performed under BSL3 biosafety conditions, and is time consuming and labor intensive, limiting its usefulness. Serological methods are reliable but are not appropriate in early stage infection, i.e., before 5–6 days after clinical onset, because antibody titer is low during early stages of infection and serology is not sensitive enough to detect small changes in antibody titer. Nucleic acid amplification by PCR is an appropriate diagnostic tool at an early stage of infection, while the patient is viremic (Laurent et al., 2007).


  • Help confirm the disease causing agent
  • Help ensure that animal colonies are free of this virus
  • Early prevention of spread of this virus among a colony
  • Minimize personnel exposure to this virus
  • Safety monitoring of biological products and vaccines that derive from primates

Apandi, Y., Nazni, W.A., Noor Azleen, Z.A., Vythilingam, I., Noorazian, M.Y. , Azahari, A.H., Zainah, S. and Lee, H.L. (2009) The first isolation of chikungunya virus from nonhuman primates in Malaysia. J. Gen. Mol. Virol. 1: 035–039

Laurent, P., Le Roux, K., Grivard, P., Bertil, G., Naze, F., Picard, M., Staikowsky, F., Barau, G., Schuffenecker, I. and Michault, A. (2007) Development of a sensitive real-time reverse transcriptase PCR assay with an internal control to detect and quantify Chikungunya virus. Clin. Chem. 53: 1408–1414.

Specimen requirement: 0.2 ml whole blood in EDTA (purple top) or ACD (yellow top) tube, or 0.2 ml plasma or serum, or 0.2 ml cerebrospinal fluid, or 0.2 ml tissue.

Contact Zoologix if advice is needed to determine an appropriate specimen type for a specific diagnostic application. For specimen types not listed here, please contact Zoologix to confirm specimen acceptability and shipping instructions.

For all specimen types, if there will be a delay in shipping, or during very warm weather, refrigerate specimens until shipped and ship with a cold pack unless more stringent shipping requirements are specified. Frozen specimens should be shipped so as to remain frozen in transit. See shipping instructions for more information.

Turnaround time: 2 business days

Methodology: Qualitative reverse transcription coupled real time PCR

Normal range: Nondetected

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