Chikungunya infection in returned travellers: results from the geosentinel network, 2005-2020

GeoSentinel Network

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


Chikungunya is an important travel-related disease because of its rapid geographical expansion and potential for prolonged morbidity. Improved understanding of the epidemiology of travel-related chikungunya infections may influence prevention strategies including education and vaccination.

We analysed data from travellers with confirmed or probable chikungunya reported to GeoSentinel sites from 2005 to 2020. Confirmed chikungunya was defined as a compatible clinical history plus either virus isolation, positive nucleic acid test or seroconversion/rising titre in paired sera. Probable chikungunya was defined as a compatible clinical history with a single positive serology result.

1202 travellers (896 confirmed and 306 probable) with chikungunya were included. The median age was 43 years (range 0–91; interquartile range [IQR]: 31–55); 707 (58.8%) travellers were female. Most infections were acquired in the Caribbean (28.8%), Southeast Asia (22.8%), South Central Asia (14.2%) and South America (14.2%). The highest numbers of chikungunya cases reported to GeoSentinel were in 2014 (28.3%), 2015 (14.3%) and 2019 (11.9%). The most frequent reasons for travel were tourism (n = 592; 49.3%) and visiting friends or relatives (n = 334; 27.7%). The median time to presentation to a GeoSentinel site was 23 days (IQR: 7–52) after symptom onset. In travellers with confirmed chikungunya and no other reported illnesses, the most frequently reported symptoms included musculoskeletal symptoms (98.8%), fever/chills/sweats (68.7%) and dermatologic symptoms (35.5%). Among 917 travellers with information available, 296 (32.3%) had a pretravel consultation.

Chikungunya was acquired by international travellers in almost 100 destinations globally. Vector precautions and vaccination where recommended should be integrated into pretravel visits for travellers going to areas with chikungunya or areas with the potential for transmission. Continued surveillance of travel-related chikungunya may help public health officials and clinicians limit the transmission of this potentially debilitating disease by defining regions where protective measures (e.g. pretravel vaccination) should be strongly considered.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbertaae005
JournalJournal of Travel Medicine
Issue number2
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Caribbean
  • Arbovirus
  • Arthritis
  • Prevention
  • Sentinel
  • Vaccination
  • Vector borne virus


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