Prolonged persistence of IgM against dengue virus detected by commonly used commercial assays

Yu Wen Chien, Zi Hu Liu, Fan Chen Tseng, Tzu Chuan Ho, How Ran Guo, Nai Ying Ko, Wen Chien Ko, Guey Chuen Perng

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Initial symptoms of dengue fever are non-specific, and thus definite diagnosis requires laboratory confirmation. Detection of IgM against dengue virus (DENV) has become widely used for dengue diagnosis. Understanding the persistence of anti-DENV IgM in subjects after acute infection is essential in order to interpret test results correctly. Although the longevity of anti-DENV IgM has been vehemently investigated in symptomatic children, anti-DENV IgM persistence in adults and in asymptomatically infected people have seldom been reported. Methods: We prospectively investigated 44 adults with detectable anti-DENV IgM in a serosurvey conducted in the 2015 dengue epidemic in Tainan, Taiwan. Among subjects within the cohort, 17 were classified to be symptomatic and 27 were asymptomatic. The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) from Standard Diagnostic (SD) and Focus Diagnostic were used to detect anti-DENV IgM for specimens collected initially, at 6 and 12 months. Regression analyses were used to estimate the duration of anti-DENV IgM fell below the detectable level. Rapid dengue tests from Standard Diagnostics had been widely adopted to detect anti-DENV IgM in Taiwan during the 2015 dengue outbreak. As such, collected specimens were also evaluated with the SD rapid dengue test in parallel. Results: Anti-DENV IgM was detectable in 70.5 and 46.2% of the 44 subjects at 6 months and 12 months by the SD ELISA, respectively, while 13.6 and 7.7%, respectively, by the Focus ELISA. There was no significant difference in anti-DENV IgM detection for the follow-up specimens between subjects with symptomatic and asymptomatic infections. The regression analysis estimated that anti-DENV IgM persistence fell to the undetectable level at 338.3 days (95% CI 279.7-446.9) by SD ELISA, while at 175.7 days (95% CI 121.9-221.1) by Focus ELISA. The detectable frequency of anti-DENV IgM by rapid tests was 86.4%, 68.2 and 35.9% at initial, 6 and 12 months, respectively. Conclusion: Anti-DENV IgM was found to persist much longer than previously thought, suggesting a necessity of re-evaluation of the use of anti-DENV IgM for both the diagnosis of dengue and serological surveillance, especially when large outbreaks have occurred in the preceding year.

Original languageEnglish
Article number156
JournalBMC infectious diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Apr 2

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Infectious Diseases

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