Serologically defined primary dengue virus infection and/or subsequent homologous serotype infection is known to be associated with less severe disease as compared with secondary subsequent heterologous serotype infection. In geographical locales of high dengue endemicity, almost all individuals in the population are infected at some point in time and should therefore are at high risk of secondary infection. Interestingly, dengue viremia in healthy blood donors whose sera apparently lack detectable levels of specific antibody to dengue viral antigens has been reported. The incidence rate of potential immunologic hypo- or non-responders following natural primary dengue virus infection in dengue endemic regions, who do become immune responders only after repeated exposure, has not been described. These are the patients who may be diagnosed as primary infection in the subsequent infection, but actually are secondary infection. This concept has important implications with regards to the hypothesis of immunological enhancement of dengue pathogenesis, which has largely been advanced based on empirical observations and/or from in vitro experimental assays. The fact that dengue naïve travelers can suffer from severe dengue upon primary exposure while visiting dengue endemic countries underscores one of the major problems in explaining the role of immune enhancement in the pathogenesis of severe dengue virus infection. This evidence suggests that the mechanism(s) leading to severe dengue may not be associated with pre-existing enhancing antibody. Consequently, we propose a new paradigm for dengue virus infection classification. These include a) patients with naïve primary infection, b) those that are serologically defined primary in dengue endemic zones and c) those who are serologically defined secondary dengue virus infection. We submit that clarity with regards to such definitions may help facilitate the delineation of the potential mechanisms of severe dengue virus infection.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Cell Biology
- Biochemistry, medical
- Pharmacology (medical)