Retrospective screening of acute undifferentiated fever serum samples with universal flavivirus primers
Introduction: Fever is a common symptom of many tropical diseases and in many cases the etiologic agent remains unidentified as a consequence of either the etiologic agent not being part of routine diagnostic screening or as a consequence of false negatives on standard diagnostic tests.
Methodology: This study screened a well characterized panel of 274 serum samples collected on day of admission from adult patients with acute undifferentiated fever admitted to a hospital in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand by RT-PCR using pan-flavivirus degenerate primers.
Results: Subsequent clinical diagnosis was achieved for 38 of the patients, and included 19 cases of dengue fever. RT-PCR screening identified seven positive samples (2.5%) which were revealed by sequence analysis to be dengue virus 1 (2 cases), dengue virus 2 (2 cases) and dengue virus 3 (3 cases). Only 5 out of 19 (26%) serum samples from patients subsequently diagnosed with dengue were positive, but 2 samples which clinically remained undiagnosed were shown to be positive for dengue virus. Sequence analysis suggested that the dengue virus 3 cases occurred as a result of importation of a strain of dengue from India or China. No other flaviviruses were identified.
Conclusions: No evidence was found of other flaviviruses besides dengue circulating in this population. Despite improved diagnostic tests, cases of dengue are still evading correct diagnosis.
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