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Journal Articles Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases Year : 2009

Dengue infection in neotropical forest mammals.

Vincent Lacoste
Adeline Germain
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  • IdRef : 134250915
Philippe Dussart
Anne Lavergne


In South America, dengue is the arbovirus-transmitted disease with the highest incidence. Unlike other arboviruses, wild mammals have no confirmed role in the cycle of dengue in the neotropics, although serological studies have suggested a possible secondary amplification cycle involving mammals other than nonhuman primates. In French Guiana, where all four serotypes (DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, DENV-4) are present, the disease is endemic with outbreak events. To determine whether wild mammals can be infected by DENV, rodents, marsupials, and bats were captured over several periods, from 2001 to 2007, at two sites. The first location is a secondary forest surrounded by an urban area where dengue is endemic. The second location is a forest edge site where the disease has not yet emerged. A total of 10,000 trap-nights were performed and 616 mammals were captured. RNAs representing the four DENV serotypes were detected at both sites by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction in the livers and/or sera of 92 mammals belonging to 14 out of 32 species distributed among all the orders investigated: Rodentia (33 positive/146 tested), Marsupialia (40/318), and Chiroptera (19/152). Sequence analyses of a portion of the capsid and premembrane junction revealed that mammal strains of DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, and DENV-4 had only 92.6%, 89%, 95%, and 95.8% identity, respectively, with strains circulating in the human population during the same periods. Regarding DENV-2, strains related (99% identity) to those responsible for an epidemic event in humans in French Guiana concurrent to the capture sessions were also evidenced, suggesting that wild mammals in edge habitats can be infected by circulating human strains. Our results demonstrate, for the first time, that neotropical wild mammals can be infected with dengue virus. The question of whether mammals maintain DENV in enzootic cycles and can play a role in its reemergence in human populations remains to be answered.


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Dates and versions

pasteur-00584093 , version 1 (07-04-2011)



Benoît de Thoisy, Vincent Lacoste, Adeline Germain, Jorge Muñoz-Jordán, Candimar Colón, et al.. Dengue infection in neotropical forest mammals.. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, 2009, 9 (2), pp.157-70. ⟨10.1089/vbz.2007.0280⟩. ⟨pasteur-00584093⟩
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