Seroepidemiology of dengue virus infection among adults during the ending phase of a severe dengue epidemic in southern Taiwan, 2015

Yu Wen Chien, Hsiang Min Huang, Tzu Chuan Ho, Fan Chen Tseng, Nai Ying Ko, Wen Chien Ko, Guey Chuen Perng

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: A severe dengue epidemic occurred in 2015 which resulted in over 22,000 laboratory-confirmed cases. A cross-sectional seroprevalence study was conducted during the ending phase of this epidemic to evaluate the true incidence of dengue virus (DENV) infection and the level of herd immunity. Methods: Adult residents in three administrative districts with high dengue incidence were recruited; workers in two districts with intermediate dengue incidence were also recruited for comparison. DENV-specific IgM and IgG were tested using commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. DENV RNA was detected using commercial quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assay. Univariate and multivariate logistic regressions were performed to identify risk factors for recent and past DENV infection. Results: The overall seroprevalence of anti-DENV IgM and IgG in 1391 participants was 6.8 and 17.4%, respectively. The risk of recent DENV infection increased with age, with the elderly having the highest risk of infection. Living in areas with high incidence of reported dengue cases and having family members being diagnosed with dengue in 2015 were also independent risk factors for recent DENV infection. One sample was found to have asymptomatic viremia with viral load as high as 10 5 PFU/ml. Conclusions: Comparing the seroprevalence of anti-DENV IgM with the incidence of reported dengue cases in 2015, we estimated that 1 out of 3.7 dengue infections were reported to the surveillance system; widespread use of rapid diagnostic tests might contribute to this high reporting rate. The results also indicate that the overall herd immunity remains low and the current approved Dengvaxia® is not quite suitable for vaccination in Taiwan.

Original languageEnglish
Article number338
JournalBMC infectious diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Apr 24

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Infectious Diseases


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