Emergence of dengue virus type-3 in northern India

Paban Kumar Dash, Parag Saxena, Ajay Abhyankar, Rakesh Bhargava, Asha Mukul Jana
Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health 2005, 36 (2): 370-7
During the last few decades dengue has reemerged in several parts of Southeast Asia, including India. A major outbreak of dengue infection occurred in northern India during October to December 2003. To determine the etiology, we carried out serological, virological and molecular investigations of this outbreak. A total of 76 dengue suspected patient blood samples were collected from Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi, India. Serological investigations carried out using an in-house Dipstick ELISA protocol revealed the presence of anti-dengue antibodies in 53 patients. Twelve of them (22%) had a positive IgM response, indicative of primary infection, and 22 of them (42%) revealed only IgG antibodies, indicative of secondary infection. RT-PCR analysis employing dengue group specific amplimer revealed the presence of dengue specific RNA in four acute phase samples. These four RT-PCR positive samples were further processed for virus isolation in C6/36 cells and suckling mice, yielding four dengue virus isolates. The Nested PCR analysis employing serotype specific amplimer revealed the presence of dengue-3 specific 389 bp amplicon. This study confirmed the reemergence of dengue virus type-3 in a dominant form in India after a gap of nine years. Earlier, dengue virus type-2 was implicated as the etiology of a major dengue epidemic in Delhi in 1996 and Gwalior in 2001. The implication of dengue type-3 as etiology of a DHF epidemic in neighboring Sri Lanka and Bangladesh recently confirms the reemergence of dengue type-3 as the dominant form on the Indian subcontinent.

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