The origins of dengue and chikungunya viruses in Ecuador following increased migration from Venezuela and Colombia.

Publication date: Feb 19, 2020

In recent years, Ecuador and other South American countries have experienced an increase in arboviral diseases. A rise in dengue infections was followed by introductions of chikungunya and Zika, two viruses never before seen in many of these areas. Furthermore, the latest socioeconomic and political instability in Venezuela and the mass migration of its population into the neighboring countries has given rise to concerns of infectious disease spillover and escalation of arboviral spread in the region.

We performed phylogeographic analyses of dengue (DENV) and chikungunya (CHIKV) virus genomes sampled from a surveillance site in Ecuador in 2014-2015, along with genomes from the surrounding countries. Our results revealed at least two introductions of DENV, in 2011 and late 2013, that initially originated from Venezuela and/or Colombia. The introductions were subsequent to increases in the influx of Venezuelan and Colombian citizens into Ecuador, which in 2013 were 343% and 214% higher than in 2009, respectively. However, we show that Venezuela has historically been an important source of DENV dispersal in this region, even before the massive exodus of its population, suggesting already established paths of viral distribution. Like DENV, CHIKV was introduced into Ecuador at multiple time points in 2013-2014, but unlike DENV, these introductions were associated with the Caribbean. Our findings indicated no direct CHIKV connection between Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela as of 2015, suggesting that CHIKV was, at this point, not following the paths of DENV spread.

Our results reveal that Ecuador is vulnerable to arbovirus import from many geographic locations, emphasizing the need of continued surveillance and more diversified prevention strategies. Importantly, increase in human movement along established paths of viral dissemination, combined with regional outbreaks and epidemics, may facilitate viral spread and lead to novel virus introductions. Thus, strengthening infectious disease surveillance and control along migration routes and improving access to healthcare for the vulnerable populations is of utmost importance.

Open Access PDF

Berry, Maljkovic, Rutvisuttinunt, W., Sippy, R., Beltran-Ayala, E., Figueroa, K., Ryan, S., Srikanth, A., Stewart-Ibarra, A.M., Endy, T., and Jarman, R.G. The origins of dengue and chikungunya viruses in Ecuador following increased migration from Venezuela and Colombia. 01925. 2020 BMC Evol Biol (20):1.

Concepts Keywords
Arboviral Tropical diseases
Arbovirus Neglected diseases
BMC Medicine
Caribbean Medical specialties
Chikungunya Infectious diseases
Colombia RTT
Dengue Flaviviruses
Ecuador Dengue fever
Healthcare Arbovirus
Phylogeographic Zika virus
Sampled Dengue virus
Socioeconomic Chikungunya
Viral Distribution


Type Source Name
drug DRUGBANK Ranitidine
drug DRUGBANK Aspartame
drug DRUGBANK Platinum
disease MESH Viral Diseases
drug DRUGBANK Nonoxynol-9
drug DRUGBANK Silver
disease MESH yellow fever
disease MESH infectious disease
disease MESH dengue
disease MESH infections
pathway KEGG Malaria
disease MESH malaria
disease MESH tics
drug DRUGBANK Trestolone
disease MESH measles
pathway KEGG Measles
disease MESH diphtheria
drug DRUGBANK Hexocyclium
drug DRUGBANK Coenzyme M
drug DRUGBANK Ademetionine
disease MESH separated
drug DRUGBANK Diethylstilbestrol
drug DRUGBANK Hyaluronic acid
drug DRUGBANK Medical air
drug DRUGBANK Esomeprazole
disease MESH co infection
disease MESH syndrome


Original Article

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *