Emergence and global spread of a dengue serotype 3, subtype III virus

Emerg Infect Dis. 2003 Jul;9(7):800-9. doi: 10.3201/eid0907.030038.


Over the past two decades, dengue virus serotype 3 (DENV-3) has caused unexpected epidemics of dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) in Sri Lanka, East Africa, and Latin America. We used a phylogenetic approach to evaluate the roles of virus evolution and transport in the emergence of these outbreaks. Isolates from these geographically distant epidemics are closely related and belong to DENV-3, subtype III, which originated in the Indian subcontinent. The emergence of DHF in Sri Lanka in 1989 correlated with the appearance there of a new DENV-3, subtype III variant. This variant likely spread from the Indian subcontinent into Africa in the 1980s and from Africa into Latin America in the mid-1990s. DENV-3, subtype III isolates from mild and severe disease outbreaks formed genetically distinct groups, which suggests a role for viral genetics in DHF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Africa, Eastern / epidemiology
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / epidemiology
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / virology
  • Dengue Virus / classification*
  • Dengue Virus / genetics*
  • Dengue Virus / isolation & purification
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Humans
  • Latin America / epidemiology
  • Phylogeny
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Severe Dengue / epidemiology*
  • Severe Dengue / virology*
  • Sri Lanka / epidemiology