Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 7th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Chikungunya's Faulty Envelope
31 July 2014

Chikungunya's Faulty Envelope

Aside from malaria and dengue fever, there’s a plethora of lesser-known diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. These include the o'nyong'nyong virus in East Africa, the Ross River virus endemic to Australia, and the rapidly spreading chikungunya virus. Like dengue, these viruses cause fever, headache and severe joint pain, and there’s no vaccine or treatment. Here, a transmission electron micrograph depicts numerous chikungunya virus particles, composed of a central core surrounded by a viral envelope. Scientists now believe that a single mutation in a viral envelope gene enabled the Asian tiger mosquito to transmit chikungunya to humans. Before 2006, only the yellow fever mosquito could pass on the disease. This has resulted in a surge of outbreaks in non-endemic areas, including one in northeastern Italy in 2007. And the first case of chikungunya-carrying mosquitoes in the United States was recorded this month.

Written by Nick Kennedy

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.