Which alphaviruses cause viral arthritis?

Updated: Nov 12, 2019
  • Author: Rabea Ahmed Khouqeer, MD, FRCPC, FAAAAI; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
  • Print

Alphaviruses constitute a genus of the Togaviridae family. Approximately five to six types of alphavirus infection cause rheumatic symptoms and fever as major features; all are mosquito-borne. Geographic distributions are as follows:

  • Chikungunya virus – Historically,, East Africa, India, Southeast Asia, and Philippines [5] ; however, in 2013 the virus spread to the Caribbean and in 2014 it reached the United States [6]  

  • O’nyong-nyong virus – East Africa

  • Ross River virus – Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific islands

  • Mayaro virus – South America

  • Sindbis virus – Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Philippines

  • Barmah Forest virus – Australia

Chen and colleagues found that alphavirus infection results in bone loss in a mouse model of Ross River virus, and that bone loss was prevented by inhibition of interleukin-6 (IL-6). Alphaviruses may disrupt bone homeostasis, and osteoblasts may contribute to alphavirus-induced arthritis by regulating IL-6 and contribute to bone loss by disrupting the receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappaB ligand/osteoprotegerin balance. [7]

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!