Short report: Introduction of chikungunya virus ECSA genotype into the Brazilian Midwest and its dispersion through the Americas.
de Oliveira EC., Fonseca V., Xavier J., Adelino T., Morales Claro I., Fabri A., Marques Macario E., Viniski AE., Campos Souza CL., Gomes da Costa ES., Soares de Sousa C., Guimarães Dias Duarte F., Correia de Medeiros A., Campelo de Albuquerque CF., Venancio Cunha R., Oliveira De Moura NF., Bispo de Filippis AM., Oliveira TD., Lourenço J., de Abreu AL., Alcantara LCJ., Giovanetti M.
Since introduction into Brazil in 2014, chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has presented sustained transmission, although much is unknown about its circulation in the midwestern states. Here, we analyze 24 novel partial and near complete CHIKV genomes from Cuiaba, an urban metropolis located in the Brazilian midwestern state of Mato Grosso (MT). Nanopore technology was used for sequencing CHIKV complete genomes. Phylogenetic and epidemiological approaches were used to explore the recent spatio-temporal evolution and spread of the CHIKV-ECSA genotype in Midwest Brazil as well as in the Americas. Epidemiological data revealed a reduction in the number of reported cases over 2018-2020, likely as a consequence of a gradual accumulation of herd-immunity. Phylogeographic reconstructions revealed that at least two independent introductions of the ECSA lineage occurred in MT from a dispersion event originating in the northeastern region and suggest that the midwestern Brazilian region appears to have acted as a source of virus transmission towards Paraguay, a bordering South American country. Our results show a complex dynamic of transmission between epidemic seasons and suggest a possible role of Brazil as a source for international dispersion of the CHIKV-ECSA genotype to other countries in the Americas.