Over the past years, a global spread of a multitude of new viruses and other pathogens has been observed, leading to previously unknown diseases. Lately, there was an increase in epidemics of vector-borne infectious diseases, especially in tropical regions. Alongside dengue and chikungunya fever, Zika fever, which spread in large parts of the South American continent in 2015 and 2016, plays an important role.
Besides the three mentioned arboviruses (arthropod-borne viruses), there is a number of other representatives which could also cause larger waves of infections, e.g. Mayaro virus (MAYV).
The Mayaro virus
MAYV belongs to the Alphavirus genus from the Togaviridae family and is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes of the genus Haemagogus. The group of alphaviruses consists of several known human pathogenic viruses. Their most known representative is chikungunya virus. The distribution area of MAYV is mainly Central and South America, especially regions in and around the Amazon basin. The virus was first isolated from blood samples from forest workers in Mayaro, Trinidad, in 1954. Since then, epidemics in Brazil and Bolivia and sporadic outbreaks in Peru, Venezuela and French Guiana were observed.
MAYV is highly adaptable, a characteristic that increases the likeliness of further geographical spread. It can infect many different vertebrates, such as marsupials and primates. These can also be the viral host. Mayaro fever, caused by MAYV, persists for 3 to 5 days and cannot be clinically distinguished from dengue and chikungunya fever or other diseases caused by arboviruses.
Infections with MAYV are characterised by fever, headaches, exanthema, myalgia, diarrhoea and arthralgia. These symptoms may persist for several weeks, in some cases even months.
The Anti-Mayaro Virus ELISA (IgG, IgM)
In order to be prepared for possible epidemics in the tropical regions, serological tests from EUROIMMUN are now available to support the diagnosis of MAYV infections. EUROIMMUN‘s Anti-Mayaro Virus ELISA (IgG or IgM; order no.: EI 295c-9601 G or M) is the first CE-labelled and commercially available test for the detection of antibodies against MAYV. ELISA enables both detection of acute – often some days following the onset of symptoms – as well as past infections. In contrast test systems for direct detection of the virus (e.g. PCR) can only detect an infection up to approximately 3 to 5 days after the start of the disease – after this, the virus itself can no longer be detected. The Anti-Mayaro Virus ELISA (IgG or IgM) can be used to analyse large populations in the case of epidemics and travellers returning from affected areas.