Serological evidence of dengue fever among refugees, Hargeysa, Somalia

J Med Virol. 1989 Oct;29(2):79-81. doi: 10.1002/jmv.1890290202.


Epidemics of a malaria-like illness affected several thousand residents of the Dam Camp, a refugee camp near Hargeysa in Somalia, during 1985, 1986, and 1987. The disease was characterized by fever, chills, sweats, headache, back and joint pains for as long as 10 days in some patients. Blood smears from acutely ill patients were negative for malaria. Of 28 acute and 10 convalescent sera tested by the indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) and by the hemagglutination inhibition (HI) tests, all were negative for antibody to Rift Valley fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, Sindbis, Chikungunya, yellow fever, and Zika viruses. However, antibody reactive to dengue 2 virus was detected by the IFA test in 39% (15/38), and 11 of 29 (38%) of the same sera were antibody positive by the HI test. Also, IgG antibody reactive to dengue 2 was demonstrated in 60% (17/28) of the same sera by the enzyme immunoassay (EIA), and 14% (4/28) were positive for IgM antibody. Of ten patients for which acute and convalescent sera were available, two developed four fold or greater rises in antibody titer evidencing infection. These data suggested that dengue virus may have been the cause of the epidemic among the Dam Camp refugees.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology
  • Dengue / diagnosis*
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin M / immunology
  • Refugees*
  • Somalia


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin M