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The frequency of chronic joint pain after infection with chikungunya in a large Latin American cohort was 25 percent at a median of 20-months post-infection. In the Arthritis & Rheumatology study, significant predictors of persistent joint pain included being a college graduate, headache, knee pain, missed work, normal activities effected, four or more days of initial symptoms, and four or more weeks of initial joint pain.
The finding of chronic joint pain in one fourth of the patients infected with chikungunya, a mosquito-borne illness, approximately two years after initial infection has important implications for prediction of the magnitude of disability and health system costs after the Latin American epidemic.
The investigators hypothesized that persistent active chikungunya is responsible for chronic arthritis and joint pain and that chikungunya viral RNA would be present in the synovial fluid; however, in another study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, the researchers did not detect viable virus after culture of synovial fluid in any of the participants who were studied for a median 22 months after infection.