Evaluation of four methods for detection of immunoglobulin M antibodies to dengue virus

Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 1999 Jul;6(4):555-7.


Dengue has become hyperendemic in many islands of the Caribbean region. The performance in a diagnostic laboratory of four commercial assays for detection of immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies was evaluated. Sera from 62 patients with dengue virus infection were studied. These included 18 patients from whom dengue virus type 2 was isolated in a 1997 outbreak (specimens collected a mean of 14 days after onset of symptoms), 8 patients with dengue hemorrhagic fever (mean time after onset, 11 days), and 36 patients in whom dengue was previously confirmed by serology (mean time after onset, 10 days). Thirty serum specimens from blood donors in a country where dengue is not endemic were used as negative controls. The methods evaluated were two IgM-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) (MRL Diagnostics, Cypress, Calif., and PanBio, Queensland, Australia), a dot ELISA dipstick assay (Integrated Diagnostics, Baltimore, Md.), and a rapid immunochromatographic assay for dengue IgG and IgM (PanBio IC). IgG antibodies were also detected by an ELISA method (MRL Diagnostics). The sensitivities of the four assays were as follows: MRL Diagnostics IgM ELISA, 98.4%; PanBio IgM ELISA, 85.5%; Integrated Diagnostics IgM dot ELISA, 96. 8%; and PanBio IC, 83.9%. The specificities of all tests were 100%. Evidence of secondary dengue was found in all patients with dengue hemorrhagic fever and in 83% of the remaining patients. The MRL Diagnostics IgM ELISA appears to be more sensitive than the PanBio IgM ELISA, and this may be significant when IgM titers are low, particularly in patients with secondary dengue infections. The dot ELISA dipstick assay is equally sensitive and may be more appropriate for use in laboratories with lower workloads.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic / blood*
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Chromatography
  • Dengue Virus / immunology*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Immunoelectrophoresis
  • Immunoglobulin M / immunology
  • Serologic Tests / methods
  • Severe Dengue / blood
  • Severe Dengue / diagnosis


  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • anti-IgM