Chikungunya Virus Infection: Why Should U.S. Geriatricians Be Aware of It?

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Chikungunya Virus Infection: Why Should U.S. Geriatricians Be Aware of It?

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017 Nov;65(11):2529-2534

Authors: Lang PO, Loulergue P, Aspinall R

Abstract
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) was until recently perceived only as a tropical disease. Since the first report of a case in Saint Martin Island in 2013, it has spread to South, Central, and North America. The first local transmission in the continental United States was reported in Florida in July 2014. CHIV infection is known to cause debilitating rheumatologic disease. Older adults are particularly susceptible to severe and chronic infection. Without an effective vaccine and antiviral therapy to prevent and control CHIKV, U.S. geriatricians could soon be confronted with major clinical, functional, and therapeutic challenges. After a general overview of CHIKV infection, this review will examine reasons why it has become such a threat to the United States and consider factors that contribute to the greater burden and effect of this disease in elderly adults. Consideration will be given to how aging and immunosenescence may contribute to CHIKV's atypical and more-severe clinical features in older adults. This review concludes with possible therapeutic approaches that best fit the unique needs of older adults, especially with regard to multimorbidity and polypharmacy.

PMID: 28940385 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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