Enhancing the sensitivity of Dengue virus serotype detection by RT-PCR among infected children in India

Authors : Ahamed SF, Vivek R, Kotabagi S, Nayak K, Chandele A, Kaja MK, Shet A

Publication Year : 2017

Abstract :

Dengue surveillance relies on reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), for confirmation of dengue virus (DENV) serotypes. We compared efficacies of published and modified primer sets targeting envelope (Env) and capsid-premembrane (C-prM) genes for detection of circulating DENV serotypes in southern India. Acute samples from children with clinically-diagnosed dengue were used for RT-PCR testing. All samples were also subjected to dengue serology (NS1 antigen and anti-dengue-IgM/IgG rapid immunochromatographic assay). Nested RT-PCR was performed on viral RNA using three methods targeting 654bp C-prM, 511bp C-prM and 641bp Env regions, respectively. RT-PCR-positive samples were validated by population sequencing. Among 171 children with suspected dengue, 121 were dengue serology-positive and 50 were dengue serology-negative. Among 121 serology-positives, RT-PCR detected 91 (75.2%) by CprM654, 72 (59.5%) by CprM511, and 74 (61.1%) by Env641. Among 50 serology-negatives, 10 (20.0%) were detected by CprM654, 12 (24.0%) by CprM511, and 11 (22.0%) by Env641. Overall detection rate using three methods sequentially was 82.6% (100/121) among serology-positive and 40.0% (20/50) among serology-negative samples; 6.6% (8/120) had co-infection with multiple DENV serotypes. We conclude that detection of acute dengue was enhanced by a modified RT-PCR method targeting the 654bp C-prM region, and further improved by using all three methods sequentially.