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Brief Report: Management of Chronic Post-Chikungunya Rheumatic Disease: The Martinican Experience.

Arthritis Rheumatol. 2016 Nov;68(11):2817-2824

Authors: Blettery M, Brunier L, Polomat K, Moinet F, Deligny C, Arfi S, Jean-Baptiste G, De Bandt M

OBJECTIVE: To describe chronic chikungunya manifestations seen during the outbreak in the Caribbean from December 2013 to January 2015.
METHODS: Patients were seen at our center, the only rheumatology department in Martinique Island, and were examined by a senior rheumatologist using a standard care report form. Chikungunya was diagnosed collectively based on consensus among all clinicians. The median time from onset of acute chikungunya to the first rheumatology consultation was calculated, severity was evaluated based on clinical scales and the degree of joint destruction, and each patient’s treatment was recorded.
RESULTS: For the 147 patients analyzed, the median time between onset of acute chikungunya and the first rheumatology consultation was 8 months. After review of each patient’s medical record, 19 (12.9%) were diagnosed as having epidemic-influenced chikungunya. Four distinct rheumatologic patterns were observed in the remaining patients (those with compatible history and positive serologic findings): 47 patients (32%) had reactivation of painful chronic mechanical manifestations, 9 patients (6.1%) had fibromyalgia, 45 patients (30.6%) met criteria for spondyloarthritis (as evaluated before the chikungunya virus infection in all patients) and experienced a flare, and 27 patients (18.4%), with no history of joint disease, developed de novo bilateral symmetric chronic inflammatory joint disease in response to chikungunya virus infection. For inflammatory arthritis, most patients were treated with methotrexate (up to 25 mg/week), with good response and tolerance. Thirteen patients were treated with conventional doses of anti-tumor necrosis factor agents, with good tolerance and efficacy as expected.
CONCLUSION: The term “chronic chikungunya syndrome” covers multiple etiologies. Compliance with the French Society of Rheumatology recommendations, careful recording of patient histories, and serologic verification help prevent errors inherent to the epidemic context and ensure early therapeutic intervention for these patients. To avoid late initiation of treatment, patients should receive rheumatologic consultation as early as possible.

PMID: 27273928 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]