A mutation involving the alteration of a single nucleotide in the genetic sequence of chikungunya virus (CHIKV) may have driven a massive outbreak of the infection by making it easier for the virus to reproduce in the mosquito vector, reports a team of French researchers (Vazeille M. PLoS One. 2007;2:e1168).
An outbreak of chikungunya infection in 2005-2006 led to illness in at least one-third of the 800 000 residents of La Réunion,
an island in the Indian Ocean where the virus had not been previously reported. Previous research had shown that CHIKV had undergone a mutation early in the outbreak.
Stephenson J. Chikungunya Virus. JAMA. 2007;298(23):2733. doi:10.1001/jama.298.23.2733-d