Type-3 dengue viruses responsible for the dengue epidemic in Malaysia during 1993-1994.

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  • 1 Division of Microbiology, Yokohama City Institute of Health, Yokohama, Japan.

To characterize the dengue epidemic that recently occurred in Malaysia, we sequenced cDNAs from nine 1993-1994 dengue virus type-3 (DEN-3) isolates in Malaysia (DEN-3 was the most common type in Malaysia during this period). Nucleic acid sequences (720 nucleotides in length) from the nine isolates, encompassing the precursor of membrane protein (preM) and membrane (M) protein genes and part of the envelope (E) protein gene were aligned with various reference DEN-3 sequences to generate a neighbor-joining phylogenetic tree. According to the constructed tree, the nine Malaysian isolates were grouped into subtype II, which comprises Thai isolates from 1962 to 1987. Five earlier DEN-3 virus Malaysian isolates from 1974 to 1981 belonged to subtype I. The present data indicate that the recent dengue epidemic in Malaysia was due to the introduction of DEN-3 viruses previously endemic to Thailand.