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Abstract

Purpose. Zika virus infections have recently been reported in many dengue-endemic areas globally. Both dengue (DENV) and Zika (ZIKV) virus are transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, raising the possibility of mixed infections in both vector and host. We evaluated DENV and ZIKV prevalence in human and vector samples in Kolkata, a DENV-endemic city.

Methodology. Blood samples were collected from 70 patients presenting dengue-like fever symptoms at a hospital in Kolkata during 2015–16. Serum was obtained and tested for DENV infection by DENV NS1-based ELISA. Adult (n=8) and larval stages (n=12) of Aedes were also collected. A RT-PCR-based screening of both viruses supplemented by amplicon sequencing was performed.

Results. Of the 70 samples, 20 DENV NS1-positive serum samples were used for detailed molecular study for DENV infection. Eighteen of these (90 %) were positive by hemi-nested serotype-specific RT-PCR for DENV1/2/3, with four samples showing evidence of DENV2-3 or DENV1-3 mixed infection. None were ZIKV-positive using NS5 or ENV-based PCR, though weak amplification of a DENV1 NS5 sequence was detected in three serum samples indicating cross-reactivity of the primers. All mosquito samples were ZIKV-negative, whereas 5/8 (63 %) of adult mosquitoes and 11/12 (92 %) of larvae were DENV3-positive.

Conclusion. Both host and vector samples showed absence of ZIKV but high prevalence of DENV. The high rate of infection of larvae with DENV is suggestive of trans-ovarial transmission that could contribute to the surge of human infections during each post-monsoon season. It would be important to guard against false positives using the available Zika-reporting primer sets.

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2018-06-13
2020-01-29
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