Zika and chikungunya – emerging arboviral threats in Vietnam and South-east Asia


  • Kien Duong

    Oxford University Clinical Research Unit

Project summary

Dengue virus (DENV), Zika virus (ZIKV) and chikungunya virus (CHIKV) are viruses of the family Flaviviridae and they are transmitted by the bite from an infected Aedes mosquito. Currently, ZIKV is present in 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and the World Health Organization has declared it a ‘public health emergency of international concern’. There is negligible data on the presence of ZIKV in Vietnam.

More than 8,000 acute plasma samples collected between 2011 and 2015 from febrile patients with a non-dengue diagnosis by laboratory testing will be tested for ZIKV and CHIKV to determine whether or not ZIKV and CHIKV have circulated in Vietnam. We will also assess whether local mosquito vectors for ZIKV and CHIKV would be able to sustain local transmission. To do this, we will offer Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus mosquitoes healthy donor blood spiked with each virus, and test their susceptibility to infection and transmission after 14 days. 

This experiment, together with our assessment of whether these viruses were in recent circulation in Vietnam, will give insight into how important it is for Vietnamese doctors to consider Zika and chikungunya as alternative diagnoses in the future.

This grant was awarded under the scheme's previous name of Master's Fellowships in Public Health and Tropical Medicine.