Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an emerging alphavirus that has caused major epidemics in India and islands off the east coast of Africa since 2005. Importations into Europe and the Americas, including one that led to epidemic transmission in Italy during 2007, underscore the risk of endemic establishment elsewhere. Because there is no licensed human vaccine, and an attenuated Investigational New Drug product developed by the U.S. Army causes mild arthritis in some vaccinees, we developed chimeric alphavirus vaccine candidates using either Venezuelan equine encephalitis attenuated vaccine strain TC-83, a naturally attenuated strain of eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV), or Sindbis virus as a backbone and the structural protein genes of CHIKV. All vaccine candidates replicated efficiently in cell cultures, and were highly attenuated in mice. All of the chimeras also produced robust neutralizing antibody responses, although the TC-83 and EEEV backbones appeared to offer greater immunogenicity. Vaccinated mice were fully protected against disease and viremia after CHIKV challenge. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.