Chikungunya is caused by Chikungunya Virus or CHIK Virus (CHIKV) and it belongs to the alphavirus family. 27 different types of alpha viruses cause diseases in humans and other mammals. Chikungunya virus is just one of them. Under virus classification Chikungunya Virus is a Group IV virus belonging to the Togaviridae family and Alphavirus genus. There are multiple variants of Chikungunya virus and new variants may appear after genetic mutations.
The photo on the right is the structure of a Togaviridae family virus and represents the photo of a Chikungunya virus. The structure has a diameter of about 50nm to 70nm. Chikungunya virus consists of a single stranded positive sense RNA.
Classification of Chikungunya Virus
Following diagram shows the classification of Chikungunya Virus. Note that the a number of alphaviruses (Ross River Virus, Chikungunya virus etc.)are usually transmitted via mosquitoes and hence is known as Arboviruses (Anthropod Borne Viruses).
Note:- For sake for bravety many of the RNA viruses/Togaviridae family viruses/Alphaviruses are not shown in the diagram.
Viruses similar to Chikungunya Virus
O'nyong'nyong virus - This is an alphavirus which causes disease with symptoms very similar to Chikungunya virus. It is also transmitted by mosquito and the disease symptoms include arthritis, fever and rashes. This virus is so far limited to african countries mainly Uganda. It is not known to be fatal.
Ross River virus - This is also an alphavirus which causes rashes and athritis. This virus epidemic is seen in Australia and some of the surrounding islands. This virus is also transmitted by mosquitoes.