Title: Co-circulation and co-infections of all dengue virus serotypes in Hyderabad, India 2014.

Published in the journal ‘Epidemiology and Infection’ in July, 2017


The Scientists lead by Dr. Masturi Venkataramana, from the School of Life Sciences (SLS), University of Hyderabad (UoH) have published research findings on the prevalence of Dengue in Hyderabad. The findings have been published in the journal ‘Epidemiology and Infection’ in July, 2017.

Brief summary of the findings: Dengue virus transmits by mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti), which has become a major public health concern world-wide during recent times. There are four distinct serotypes of this virus (Den-1, Den-2, Den-3 and Den-4) that can cause mild dengue fever or potentially lethal complications such as dengue hemorrhagic fever or severe dengue. India is one of the countries facing worst dengue outbreaks in recent years. Though the country is considered hyper-endemic for dengue with the circulation of all four serotypes, there is limited data available regarding the circulating strains especially from South India.

The work published in ‘Epidemiology and Infection’ in July, 2017 by the Scientists lead by Dr. Masturi Venkataramana, from the School of Life Sciences, University of Hyderabad have identified the circulation of all four serotypes in Hyderabad for the first time. The symptoms of most of the patients were found to be complicated. In general, secondary infections by different serotypes increase the chance of severe dengue in the patients, whereas in our study we have observed the high percentage of severe dengue in primary (First-time) infections itself. This clearly indicates the circulation of high virulent dengue virus strains in this region. Out of the studied population, 45% were co-infected with more than one serotype and 80% of the co-infected patients had severe dengue. Until now the epidemiology of dengue virus strains indicates a high domination of any one of the four serotypes in a given geographical area at a given time period. But the study showed the circulation of all four serotypes at nearly equal proportion which leads for the increased co-infections and hence to the increased severe dengue. Another remarkable finding of the study is identification of Den-1 serotype for the first time in this region. All the four serotype strains in this region are found to be more similar to the virulent strains reported world-wide. Hence, the researchers conclude that simultaneous circulation of all serotypes lead to the more number of co-infections and hence to the severe form of the disease in Hyderabad, India in 2014.

The studies point out that the identification of the serotype(s) of Dengue in the early stages is very critical in managing the Dengue complications. This is not being done in most of the hospitals in Hyderabad or they are ill-equipped to identify the type of serovar, which complicates Dengue treatment.

-by Dr. Musturi Venkataramana
Dept. of Biotechnology & Bioinformatics