Home About us Editorial board Ahead of print Current issue Search Archives Submit article Instructions Subscribe Contacts Login 
  • Users Online: 4376
  • Home
  • Print this page
  • Email this page

   Table of Contents      
Year : 2009  |  Volume : 57  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 148-150

A case of bilateral presumed chikungunya neuroretinitis

1 Vitreoretinal Services, Giridhar Eye Institute, Cochin, India
2 Department of Cataract and Glaucoma, Giridhar Eye Institute, Cochin, India

Date of Submission17-Nov-2007
Date of Acceptance26-May-2008
Date of Web Publication17-Feb-2009

Correspondence Address:
G Mahesh
Giridhar Eye Institute, Ponneth Temple Road, Kadavanthra, Cochin, Kerala-682 020
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0301-4738.45508

Rights and Permissions

Chikungunya fever is a relatively rare from of vector-borne viral fever caused by chikungunya virus and spread by bites of the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquito. Epidemics of chikungunya fever have been reported in the past from different parts of the world. Although the virus had been passive for quite some time, recent reports of outbreaks of chikungunya fever in several parts of Southern India have confirmed the re-emergence of this virus. Symptoms of this infection include abrupt onset of fever, chills, and headache, rash, severe joint pain, conjunctival injection and photophobia. Ocular manifestations have been recently reported with this infection. We report a case of a 48-year-old female patient, who presented with defective vision two weeks after a serology proven chikungunya infection. There was bilateral neuroretinitis with peripapillary cotton wool spots. These findings should be kept in mind as an ocular manifestation of chikungunya virus infection.

Keywords: Chikungunya, neuroretinitis, ocular, optic neuritis, retinitis

How to cite this article:
Mahesh G, Giridhar A, Shedbele A, Kumar R, Saikumar S J. A case of bilateral presumed chikungunya neuroretinitis. Indian J Ophthalmol 2009;57:148-50

How to cite this URL:
Mahesh G, Giridhar A, Shedbele A, Kumar R, Saikumar S J. A case of bilateral presumed chikungunya neuroretinitis. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 2009 [cited 2020 Dec 5];57:148-50. Available from: https://www.ijo.in/text.asp?2009/57/2/148/45508

Chikungunya is a relatively rare form of virus infection caused by an alpha virus that is spread by the bite of infected Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquito. After a quiescent period of three decades this virus has made a comeback in the last couple of years. Recent reports of large-scale outbreaks from South India have confirmed the re-emergence of the virus. Ocular involvement in chikungunya virus infection was unheard of till the end of 2006. It was reported to cause photophobia and conjunctival injection along with the other systemic manifestations like fever, chills, joint pain, joint swelling, low back pain and skin and mucous membrane rashes. [1],[2],[3] Reports have started coming from the Indian subcontinent regarding the possible ocular manifestations of chikungunya virus infection. [4],[5],[6],[7],[8] Anterior uveitis, optic neuritis and retinitis associated with chikungunya fever have been reported in the past few months. [4],[5],[7],[8] There is no mention about clinical features and characteristics of bilateral stellar neuroretinitis following chikungunya virus infection except in a series published recently. [7] We present a case of a 48-year-old female presenting with bilateral blurring of vision following a chikungunya virus infection. The clinical features and investigations suggest the diagnosis of bilateral chikungunya neuroretinitis. Clinical features and management of this rare but important public health problem are discussed.

  Case Report Top

A 48-year-old female presented with diminution of vision in both eyes of one-week duration. She was admitted with fever, headache and arthralgia in the local hospital, two weeks prior to the onset of blurring of vision. She was investigated thoroughly and was diagnosed to be suffering from chikungunya fever. The investigations were as follows. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate 61 mm in 1 h (Westergren's method), hemoglobin: 12.5 gm%, total count: 14000 cells / cubic mm. Differential count showed polymorphs 62%, lymphocytes 28%, eosinophils 8% and basophils 2%. Platelet count was 1.8 lakhs / cubic mm. Random blood sugar was 240 mg%. Diabetic status was first detected when admitted with fever and antidiabetic medicines were started. Blood urea was 30 mg%, serum creatinine was: 0.8 mg/dL. SGOT was 42 U/L, SGPT was 67 U/L. ELISA test for HIV and VDRL test were negative. Chikungunya (Card) IgM ELISA test was positive. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test confirmed the presence of CHIKV infection. Chikungunya RNA real time PCR based on Taqman probes with an amplification product of 76 bp fragment was done. [Figure 1] shows the real time Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) RNA PCR report. Both these were done from serum sample one week after the fever started. Lack of hemorrhagic manifestations, normal platelet count and absence of epidemic of dengue in the area were against a diagnosis of dengue fever. She was given symptomatic treatment, which included antipyretic analgesic tablets like paracetamol and diclofenac sodium. She was discharged once the fever subsided. After two weeks of the discharge from the hospital she complained of defective vision of both eyes and was referred to an ophthalmologist. On ophthalmic examination, her best-corrected visual acuity was 20/80 N18 in the right eye and 20/60 N6 in the left eye. Slit-lamp examination revealed no evidence of inflammation in the anterior chamber in both eyes. Intraocular pressure by applanation tonometry was 16 mmHg in both the eyes. There was no relative afferent pupillary defect and color vision testing using Ishihara's pseudoisochromatic chart was normal. Fundus examination by indirect ophthalmoscopy and slit-lamp biomicroscopy revealed few vitreous cells, optic disc edema, intra-retinal hemorrhages, peripapillary cotton wool spots and areas of retinitis with macular star in both eyes [Figure 2A] and [Figure 2B]. Visual field analysis by Humphrey field analyzer showed bilateral centrocaecal scotoma. Fluorescein angiography was characterized by leakage from disc margins and from peripapillary vessels and blocked fluorescence due to retinal hemorrhage. The area of retinitis showed staining in the late phase of the angiogram [Figure 2C] and [Figure 2D]. A diagnosis of bilateral neuroretinitis was made. Since there was no fever and optic nerve head involvement she was started on a course of systemic steroids. Tablet Prednisolone 1 mg / kg body weight was started and tapered over six weeks. Fasting blood sugar was 142 mg% on starting the steroid therapy and her diabetes mellitus was simultaneously controlled in consultation with a physician. At the end of two months the best-corrected visual acuity was 20/30, N6 in right eye and 20/20, N6 in the left eye. Fundus examination revealed bilateral resolution of disc edema with decrease in the retinal hemorrhages and cotton wool spots [Figure 2E] and [Figure 2F]. Repeat Humphrey visual field analysis showed improvement of scotomas seen.

  Discussion Top

Chikungunya virus infection has recently been reported to cause different ocular manifestations like non-granulomatous anterior uveitis, episcleritis, panuveitis, granulomatous anterior uveitis, optic neuritis, sixth nerve palsy, retrobulbar neuritis, retinitis with vitritis, neuroretinitis , keratitis, central retinal artery occlusion, multifocal choroiditis, exudative retinal detachment and secondary glaucoma. [4],[5],[6],[7],[8] Bilateral neuroretinitis is described in viral infections caused by measles, influenza, Epstein-Barr virus, dengue virus [9] and Rift valley fever virus. This typically occurs subsequent to an acute viral systemic illness. In our case a typical picture of bilateral neuroretinitis was seen after two weeks of serology-proven chikungunya infection. It is not clear whether the neuroretinitis is immunologically mediated or due to the virus itself. Systemic acyclovir has been given in some patients with ocular manifestations in chikungunya fever without evidence. [7] As there was optic disc involvement in our case we feel systemic steroids were indicated. Delayed onset of the eye problem after the fever subsided and prompt response to steroids in our case points towards an immune-mediated underlying cause. Optic neuritis following CHIKV infection has been treated successfully with parenteral steroids. [4] There are recent reports which show the need to institute early treatment after the onset of optic disc involvement. Delay in the treatment could result in poor visual outcome. [4] In our case visual recovery had been very satisfactory probably because there was no delay in starting systemic steroids. Being a single case report this result cannot be generalized to draw a conclusion regarding the prognosis of chikungunya neuroretinitis. We may be able to get a better picture once larger case series are published. To conclude, chikungunya neuroretinitis should be kept as a differential diagnosis of any bilateral neuroretinitis. We feel that to better understand and manage the full spectrum of ocular disease caused by chikungunya infection, all patients who have suffered from chikungunya fever and have eye problem should be referred for detailed ophthalmologic evaluation.

  Acknowledgment Top

Dr. Suseela. K.K. MS. St Gregorious Mission Hospital. Department of Ophthalmology, Parumala, Kerala.

  References Top

Ravi V. Re-emergence of Chikungunya virus in India. Indian J Med Microbiol 2006;24:83-4.  Back to cited text no. 1
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Enserink M. Massive outbreak draws fresh attention to little known virus. Science 2006;311:1085.  Back to cited text no. 2
Yours SL, Forster DJ, Rao NA. Systemic viral infection and their retinal and choroidal manifestations. Surv Ophthalmol 1993;37:313-52.  Back to cited text no. 3
Mittal A, Mittal S, Bharati MJ, Ramakrishnan R, Saravanan S, Sathe PS. Optic neuritis associated with Chikungunya virus infection in South India. Arch Ophthalmol 2007;125:1381-6.  Back to cited text no. 4
Lalitha P, Rathinam S, Banushree K, Maheshkumar S, Vijayakumar R, Sathe P. Ocular involvement associated with an epidemic outbreak of Chikungunya virus infection. Am J Ophthalmol 2007;144:552-6.  Back to cited text no. 5
Chanana B, Azad RV, Nair S. Bilateral macular choroiditis following Chikungunya virus infection. Eye 2007;21:1020-1.   Back to cited text no. 6
Mahendradas P, Ranganna SK, Shetty R, Balu R, Narayana KM, Babu RB, et al. Ocular manifestations associated with Chikungunya. Ophthalmology 2008;115:287-91.  Back to cited text no. 7
Mittal A, Mittal S, Bharathi JM, Ramakrishnan R, Sathe PS. Uveitis during outbreak of Chikungunya fever. Ophthalmology 2007;114:1798.   Back to cited text no. 8
de Amorim Garcia CA, Gomes AH, de Oliveira AG. Bilateral stellar neuroretinitis in a patient with dengue fever. Eye 2006;20:1382-3.   Back to cited text no. 9


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2A], [Figure 2B], [Figure 2C], [Figure 2D], [Figure 2E], [Figure 2F]

This article has been cited by
1 Ocular Pathology
Ratnesh Ranjan,Shikha Ranjan
Asia-Pacific Journal of Ophthalmology. 2014; 3(5): 299
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Post-fever retinitis: a single center experience from south India
Srilatha Vishwanath,Kalpana Badami,K. S. Sriprakash,B. L. Sujatha,S. D. Shashidhar,Y. D. Shilpa
International Ophthalmology. 2013;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
3 New Infectious Etiologies for Posterior Uveitis
Moncef Khairallah,Rim Kahloun,Salim Ben Yahia,Bechir Jelliti,Riadh Messaoud
Ophthalmic Research. 2013; 49(2): 66
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
4 Chikungunya and the eye: a review
Padmamalini Mahendradas,Kavitha Avadhani,Rohit Shetty
Journal of Ophthalmic Inflammation and Infection. 2013; 3(1): 35
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
5 Acute optic neuritis following infection with chikungunya virus in southern rural India
Nice Rose,T.M. Anoop,Anil P. John,P.K. Jabbar,K.C. George
International Journal of Infectious Diseases. 2011; 15(2): e147
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
6 Neuroretinitis: Review of the Literature and New Observations :
Valerie Purvin, Seema Sundaram, Aki Kawasaki
Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology. 2011; 31(1): 58
[VIEW] | [DOI]
7 Acute optic neuritis following infection with chikungunya virus in southern rural India
Rose, N., Anoop, T.M., John, A.P., Jabbar, P.K., George, K.C.
International Journal of Infectious Diseases. 2011; 15(2): e147-e150
8 Chikungunya fever | [Gora̧czka chikungunya]
Cebula-Byrska, I., Kucharz, E.J.
Reumatologia. 2011; 49(6): 439-445
9 Chikungunya virus iridocyclitis in Fuchsę heterochromic iridocyclitis
Mahendradas, P., Shetty, R., Malathi, J., Madhavan, H.N.
Indian Journal of Ophthalmology. 2010; 58(6): 545-547
10 Emergence and clinical insights into the pathology of Chikungunya virus infection
Jaffar-Bandjee, M.C., Ramful, D., Gauzere, B.A., Hoarau, J.J., Krejbich-Trotot, P., Robin, S., Ribera, A., (...), Gasque, P.
Expert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy. 2010; 8(9): 987-996
11 Current approach in the diagnosis and management of posterior uveitis
Sudharshan, S., Ganesh, S.K., Biswas, J.
Indian Journal of Ophthalmology. 2010; 58(1): 29-43
12 Atypical manifestations of chikungunya infection
Rajapakse, S., Rodrigo, C., Rajapakse, A.
Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 2010; 104(2): 89-96
13 Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of chikungunya fever: Lessons learned from the re-emerging epidemic
Mohan, A., Kiran, D.H.N., Manohar, I., Kumar, D.
Indian Journal of Dermatology. 2010; 55(1): 54-63
14 Emergence and clinical insights into the pathology of Chikungunya virus infection
Marie Christine Jaffar-Bandjee,Duksha Ramful,Bernard Alex Gauzere,Jean Jacques Hoarau,Pascale Krejbich-Trotot,Stephanie Robin,Anne Ribera,Jimmy Selambarom,Philippe Gasque
Expert Review of Anti-infective Therapy. 2010; 8(9): 987
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
15 Atypical manifestations of chikungunya infection
Senaka Rajapakse,Chathuraka Rodrigo,Anoja Rajapakse
Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 2010; 104(2): 89
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
16 Chikungunya: a bending reality
Her, Z., Kam, Y.-W., Lin, R.T.P., Ng, L.F.P.
Microbes and Infection. 2009; 11(14-15): 1165-1176


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
Case Report
Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded569    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 16    

Recommend this journal