Volume 61, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Autopsy tissues from 18 children believed to have died of dengue hemorrhagic fever were tested for the presence of dengue virus RNA by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Such RNA was found in 14 of 18 liver specimens, 13 of 18 spleen specimens and 7 of 16 mesenteric lymph node specimens. No dengue virus RNA was detected in 44 samples of brain tissue from 15 individuals, 1 or more of whose other tissues yielded such RNA. All tissues had been tested previously for dengue virus by mosquito inoculation. In those tests, virus was recovered from 5 of 18 liver and 2 of 18 spleen specimens. Thus, the RT-PCR is more sensitive than the most sensitive virus isolation technique for detecting dengue virus or its components in human tissue. Failure to isolate virus from most of spleen and all mesenteric lymph node specimens may indicate that those tissues contained primarily degraded virus undergoing inactivation.


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