image of Discriminating Tonate Virus from Dengue Virus Infection: A Matched Case–Control Study in French Guiana, 2003–2016
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Tonate virus (TONV) is an arbovirus discovered in 1973 in French Guiana (FG) belonging to the Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus complex, Alphavirus genus. Only few publications and cases have been reported in FG. The objectives of the present study were to describe the clinical picture of TONV and to compare its presentation with that of dengue virus (DENV). A retrospective study was performed in Cayenne hospital from 2003 to 2016 including all patients exclusively positive for TONV IgM and not for other alphaviruses. They were classified as high probability: typical clinical picture of arbovirus infection (i.e., fever, chills, headaches, muscle, and joint pains) and IgM seroconversion; medium probability: typical clinical picture + single positive IgM on a unique serum sample without control; and low probability: atypical clinical picture of infection and single positive IgM. Only patients with high and medium probability were included in the analysis and compared with a gender- and age-matched control group of DENV diagnosed by NS1 antigen (two controls per case). During the study period, 45 cases of TONV were included and compared with 90 cases of DENV. Twenty-eight (62.2%) were men; the median age was 34 years (IQ [22–49]). In the bivariate analysis, variables significantly associated with TONV versus DENV were the presence of cough (33.3% versus 10.3%) and anemia (32.5% versus 11.1%) and the absence of nausea (4.4% versus 32.2%), rash (2.2% versus 27.4%), fatigue (17.8% versus 41.0%), anorexia (6.7% versus 30.1%), muscle pain (42.2% versus 61.4%), headache (53.3% versus 70.8%), leukopenia (9.8% versus 44.4), and lymphopenia (42.5% versus 89.9%). There were no cases with severe neurological involvement, and there were no deaths. Tonate virus may be evoked as a cause of fever in patients living or returning from the Amazonian area. Positive TONV IgM does not prove the diagnosis and should not preclude from searching for alternative infectious diagnoses.

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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  • Received : 22 Feb 2019
  • Accepted : 08 Jul 2019
  • Published online : 25 Nov 2019
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