Molecular characterization of dengue and chikungunya virus strains circulating in New Delhi, India

Nazia Afreen, Farah Deeba, Wajihul H Khan, Shakir H Haider, Syed Naqui Kazim, Romana Ishrat, Irshad Hussain Naqvi, Mohammad Y Shareef, Shobha Broor, Anwar Ahmed, Shama Parveen
Microbiology and Immunology 2014, 58 (12): 688-96
Dengue and chikungunya are acute viral infections with overlapping clinical symptoms. Both diseases are transmitted by common mosquito vectors resulting in their co-circulation in a region. Molecular and serological tests specific for both dengue and chikungunya infections were performed on 87 acute phase blood samples collected from patients with suspected dengue/chikungunya infections in Delhi from September to December, 2011. RT-PCR and IgM ELISA were performed to detect dengue virus (DENV) and chikungunya virus (CHIKV). NS1 and IgG ELISA were also performed to detect DENV specific antigen and secondary DENV infection. DENV infection was detected in 49%, CHIKV infection in 29% and co-infection with DENV and CHIKV in 10% of the samples by RT-PCR. DENV serotypes 1, 2 and 3 were detected in this study. Nine DENV-1 strains, six DENV-2 strains and 20 CHIKV strains were characterized by DNA sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of their respective envelope protein genes. DENV-1 strains grouped in the American African genotype, DENV-2 strains in the Cosmopolitan genotype and CHIKV strains in the East Central South African genotype by phylogenetic analysis. This is one of the few studies reporting the phylogeny of two dengue virus serotypes (DENV-1 and DENV-2) and CHIKV. Surveillance and monitoring of DENV and CHIKV strains are important for design of strategies to control impending epidemics.

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