Background: Accurate, rapid, and early diagnosis of dengue virus (DENV) infections is essential for optimal clinical care. Here, we evaluated the efficacy of the quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR)-LightMix dengue virus EC kit for DENV detection using samples from a dengue outbreak in Taiwan in 2015. Methods: Sera from patients with suspected DENV infection were analyzed and compared using the LightMix kit, a Dengue NS1 Ag + Ab Combo kit for detection of NS1 antigen and DENV-specific IgM and IgG antibodies, and an “in-house” qualitative DENV-specific RT-PCR assay. Results: A total of 8,989, 8,954, and 1581 samples were subjected to NS1 antigen detection, IgM and IgG detection, and LightMix assays, respectively. The LightMix assay yielded a linear curve for viral loads (VL) between 102 and 106 copies/reaction, and the minimum detection limits for DENV serotype 1 (DENV1) and DENV2, DENV3, and DENV4 were 1, 10, and 100 focus forming units (FFU)/mL, respectively. There was 88.9% concordance between the results obtained using the NS1 antigen combo kit and by LightMix analysis, and the diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of the two methods were 89.4 and 100%, and 84.7 and 100%, respectively. Notably, fatal cases were attributed to DENV2 infection, and 79.5% (27/34) of these cases occurred in patients ≥ 71 years of age. Among these older patients, 82.3% (14/17) were NS1/IgM/IgG (+/-/-), exhibiting VLs between 106–109 copies/mL, which was markedly higher than the rate observed in the other age groups. Conclusions: The LightMix assay was effective for early diagnosis of DENV infection. Our data indicate that high VLs during primary infection in elderly patients may be a positive predictor for severe illness, and may contribute to high mortality rates.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases