Musculoskeletal Disorders due to Chikungunya Virus: A Real Experience in a Rheumatology Department in Neiva, Huila

BACKGROUND Chikungunya (CHIKV), is an endemic RNA virus in some regions of Asia and Africa. In Colombia in 2014, its spread starts explosively and quickly. The presentation of CHIKV is a febrile condition, with musculoskeletal symptoms, which can progress to erosive arthropathy and polyarticular deformity. The purpose of this study is to evaluate in patients suffering from CHIKV infection in Neiva, Huila who attend the Rheumatology clinic, the symptomatic and serological behavior, and to describe comorbidities associated to the chronic phase of the disease.
METHODS An observational, longitudinal and retrospective analysis of data collected in 410 patients afflicted with the CHIKV virus, with symptoms lasting more than 3 months, who persisted with musculoskeletal and joint symptoms. The patients were classified according to their commitment in post-viral arthralgias, polyarthritis post viral, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) post CHIKV, Spondyloarthritis postCHIKV, and soft tissue rheumatism. The statistical analysis was performed using SPSS software (version 24). A descriptive analysis was carried out to evaluate quantitative variables such as the mean (standard deviation), and categorical variables such as frequency (%). The categorical variables were compared using the Chi-square equation. As a statistical significance, a p less than .05 was considered.
RESULTS Of the 410 patients, 89.23% were women, with polyarticular involvement in 92.26% of the cases. Of the patients, 49.83% had osteoarthritis. At the time of the evaluation in the Rheumatology clinic, 46.3% of the cases presented persistent non-inflammatory arthralgias, and 53.7% of the patients underwent arthritis on physical examination, of which, remarkably, 20.3% met the criteria for rheumatoid arthritis postCHIKV.
CONCLUSIONS The development of musculoskeletal symptoms after CHIKV infection is a very serious public health problem, with persistent complications and long-term morbidity risk in real life. The presence of net postviral arthritis is noteworthy, however the development of postCHIKV rheumatoid arthritis usually requires more advanced pharmacological measures, including, in some cases, transition to biological therapy. The presence of symptoms of venous insufficiency in the lower limbs that developed with CHIKV infection was an incidental finding that requires a more precise study.

as reported in: Reumatol Clin. 2020 Jun 20 [Epub ahead of print]