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

Syed Fazil Ahamed, Rosario Vivek, Shalini Kotabagi, Kaustuv Nayak, Anmol Chandele, Murali Krishna Kaja, Anita Shet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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 654 bp C-prM, 511 bp C-prM and 641 bp 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 654 bp C-prM region, and further improved by using all three methods sequentially.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-54
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Virological Methods
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Comparison
  • Dengue virus
  • Detection
  • RT-PCR
  • Serology
  • Serotyping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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