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Indian J Med Microbiol. 2019 Jul-Sep;37(3):393-400. doi: 10.4103/ijmm.IJMM_19_338.

Emergence of dengue virus 4 as the predominant serotype during the outbreak of 2017 in South India.

Author information

Department of Microbiology, Regional Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratory, JIPMER, Puducherry, India.
Department of Microbiology, MGMCRI, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Puducherry, India.
Department of Microbiology, JIPMER, Puducherry, India.



Dengue virus (DENV) causes acute febrile illness in tropical and subtropical countries. In India there is a steady increase in incidence since 1950s which could be attributed to emergence of new serotype or lineage\clade shifts in circulating DENV.


We aimed to perform molecular characterisation and phylogenetic analysis on samples from the recent outbreak (August-October 2017).

Settings and Design:

Retrospective epidemiological analysis of dengue outbreak.

Subjects and Methods:

Samples positive for non-steroidal 1 antigen by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (n = 147) were included. The study was approved by our institute ethics committee (JIP/IEC/2018/496). Five hundred and eleven base pair of capsid and pre-membrane encoding genes (CprM) region was amplified using Lanciotti primers, followed by second round of polymerase chain reaction using serotype specific primers. Samples which were positive by second round (n = 68) were sequenced and genotyped using Basic Local Alignment Search Tool analysis and phylogenetic tree was constructed by MEGA7 software.


Phylogenetic analysis of CprM sequences identified all 4 serotypes in circulation during this outbreak. We observed both single (n = 50) and concurrent infections (n = 18), with DENV4 as the major contributor (64%). Within Genotype I of DENV4 we observed a distinct new clade (Clade E) which was 2.6% ± 0.9%-5.5% ± 1.1% divergent from the other clades. Among the concurrent infection, DENV 4 and DENV 2 combination was observed to form the majority (77.8%).


Overall this study documents the emergence of DENV4 as the major serotype in circulation, replacing DENV1, 2 and 3 which had been previously reported from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. This substantiates the need for continuous monitoring in endemic countries like India, where such data may impact the formulation of vaccine policy for dengue.


Concurrent infections; South India; dengue serotyping; dengue virus 4

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