Detection of Australasian Flavivirus Encephalitic Viruses Using Rapid Fluorogenic TaqMan RT-PCR Assays

J Virol Methods. 2004 May;117(2):161-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2004.01.007.


The development of single, sensitive, fluorogenic reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (TaqMan) assays were required for the rapid and specific detection of three encephalitic viruses found in the Australasian region, namely; Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), Murray Valley encephalitis virus (MVEV), and Kunjin virus (KUNV). Primers and a fluorogenic probe were individually designed to be complementary to a nucleotide region encompassing the 3' terminus of the nonstructural (NS) 5 gene and a portion of the 3' untranslated region (NS5-3'UTR) of each of the viral genomes respectively. Synthetically produced primer and probe controls were developed to minimize the likelihood of contamination and generation of false positives. Viral RNA from singly infected mosquitoes could be detected in pools of 1000 mosquitoes and positive mosquito pools collected from the field have been identified using each assay, indicating a high level of sensitivity and suitability for use in mosquito surveillance programs. In addition, the JEV TaqMan assay has been used to detect successfully viral RNA in sentinel pig serum samples. These assays potentially offer superior and timely detection of encephalitic viruses from surveillance samples, which is essential for the rapid implementation of vector control measures and continued monitoring of virus activity in the Australasian region.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Australasia
  • Base Sequence
  • Culicidae / virology
  • DNA Primers
  • Flavivirus / genetics
  • Flavivirus / isolation & purification*
  • Oligonucleotide Probes
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • DNA Primers
  • Oligonucleotide Probes