Virologic and serologic surveillance for dengue fever in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 1994-1999.

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  • 1 Internal Medicine Department, Dr. Soliman Fakeeh Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Dengue fever infection was first documented in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, by virus isolation of dengue type 2 virus in 1994 at the virology laboratory of Dr. Soliman Fakeeh Hospital. Dengue virus surveillance was established after that time. Blood samples were collected from 985 patients (710 male patients and 275 female patients) with suspected cases of dengue from February 1994 to December 1999. Dengue virus isolates were obtained in 207 patients (21%; 162 male patients and 45 female patients). Dengue type 2 was the predominant serotype (138 of 207 isolates, 66.7%), followed by dengue type 1 with (56 of 207 isolates, 27%) and dengue type 3 (13 of 207 isolates, 6.3%). The largest number of isolates (186 of 207 isolates, 90%) was in 1994, a year during which there was a dengue epidemic. In the next 5 years, 1995-1999, only 21 isolates (10%) were isolated. Immunoglobulin M capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was positive in 160 acute samples; 52 of them were from virus culture-positive cases and 108 (11%) from culture-negative cases. The total number of cases diagnosed by both methods was 315 (32%). The prevalence of dengue immunoglobulin G antibodies, as assessed on the basis of immunofluorescent assay, hemagglutination inhibition titers > or = 1/20, or both, in the acute samples was 314 (32%) of 985, indicating past Flavivirus infection. Two patients died, one man with dengue hemorrhagic fever and one woman with dengue shock syndrome. Both fatal dengue cases were due to infection with type 2 virus. All other cases were simple dengue fever. To our knowledge, this is the first report confirming the circulation of 3 dengue serotypes in Jeddah.