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O’nyong’nyong virus
Virus classification
Group: Group IV ((+)ssRNA)
Family: Togaviridae
Genus: Alphavirus
Species: O’nyong’nyong virus
O'nyong'nyong virus
Classification and external resources
ICD-9 066.3

The O'nyong'nyong virus or O'nyong-nyong virus is a virus[1] first isolated by the Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe, Uganda in 1959. It is a togavirus (family Togaviridae), genus Alphavirus and is closely related to Chikungunya and Igbo Ora viruses. The name comes from the Nilotic language of Uganda and Sudan and means “weakening of the joints.”



O'nyong'nyong virus is transmitted by bites from an infected mosquito. It is the only virus whose primary vectors are anopheline mosquitoes (Anopheles funestus and Anopheles gambiae).


Common symptoms of infection with the virus are polyarthritis, rash and fever. Other symptoms include eye pain, chest pain, lymphadenitis and lethargy. No fatalities due to infection are known.


There have been two epidemics of O’nyong’nyong fever. The first occurred from 1959-1962 spreading from Uganda to Kenya, Tanzania, Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Malawi and Mozambique, and affecting over two million people. This was one of the largest arbovirus epidemics recorded. The first virus isolates were obtained during this outbreak from mosquitoes and human blood samples collected from Gulu in northern Uganda in 1959.

The second epidemic in 1996-1997 affected 400 people and was confined to Uganda. The 35-year hiatus between the two outbreaks and evidence of an outbreak in 1904-1906 in Uganda indicates a 30-50 year cycle for epidemics.


The ONNV (o'nyong-nyong virus) has at least three major subtypes, or strains, which genomic sequences are currently available on genome databases.


It can invovle an urban or sylvatic cycle.[2]


  1. ^ Posey DL, O'rourke T, Roehrig JT, Lanciotti RS, Weinberg M, Maloney S (July 2005). "O'Nyong-nyong fever in West Africa". Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 73 (1): 32. PMID 16014827.  
  2. ^ Powers AM, Brault AC, Tesh RB, Weaver SC (February 2000). "Re-emergence of Chikungunya and O'nyong-nyong viruses: evidence for distinct geographical lineages and distant evolutionary relationships". J. Gen. Virol. 81 (Pt 2): 471–9.  

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