Dengue has been recognized as one of the most important vector-borne emerging infectious diseases globally. Though dengue normally causes a self-limiting infection, some patients may develop a life-threatening illness, dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF)/dengue shock syndrome (DSS). The reason why DHF/DSS occurs in certain individuals is unclear. Studies in the endemic regions suggest that the preexisting antibodies are a risk factor for DHF/DSS. Viremia and thrombocytopenia are the key clinical features of dengue virus infection in patients. The amounts of virus circulating in patients are highly correlated with severe dengue disease, DHF/DSS. Also, the disturbance, mainly a transient depression, of hematological cells is a critical clinical finding in acute dengue patients. However, the cells responsible for the dengue viremia are unresolved in spite of the intensive efforts been made. Dengue virus appears to replicate and proliferate in many adapted cell lines, but these in vitro properties are extremely difficult to be reproduced in primary cells or in vivo. This paper summarizes reports on the permissive cells in vitro and in vivo and suggests a hematological cell lineage for dengue virus infection in vivo, with the hope that a new focus will shed light on further understanding of the complexities of dengue disease.
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