Tracking Mayaro Virus in the Amazon Basin for Risk of Wider Spread

Posted 7 November 2017

Carla Mavian from the University of Florida presented new findings Monday at TropMed17 on the spread and evolution of Mayaro virus (MAYV), an arbovirus transmitted by the Haemagogus mosquito and causative agent of Mayaro Fever.
 
Typical symptoms of Mayaro infection include acute fever and prolonged muscle aches, which means it is often indistinguishable from other arbovirus infections like dengue, chikungunya, and Zika. As a result, Mavian suggests that MAYV infection may be an under-diagnosed disease and is a neglected topic in the scientific literature.
 
Mavian’s presentation focused on the emergence of two new recombinant strains of MAYV, one of which appeared in Brazil 2002 and 2013 and the other discovered in Haiti in 2015. Mavian and her collaborators examined the migration of MAYV outside of the endemic Amazon Basin and the rise of the new MAYV hybrid genotypes.
 
They linked the spread of MAYV strains to the migration of Haitians to Brazil following the 2010 earthquake, suggesting their migratory paths facilitated hybridization of MAYV genotypes. According to Mavian, these findings point to a need to “add Mayaro virus to the growing list of emerging arboviral threats deserving close monitoring in the immediate future,” especially in light of recent epidemics of chikungunya and Zika viruses.
She said improved epidemiological monitoring of MAYV may help prevent further spread of MAYV and address the threat of potential future epidemics. 

This blog was written by Catherine Castro of the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. She is attending #TropMed17 as a  Benjamin H. Kean Travel Fellow in Tropical Medicine