No Evidence of Acute Dengue Virus Infections at a Rural Site in Western Kenya, 2011 and 2013. Academic Article uri icon


  • The incidence and spread of dengue virus (DENV) have increased rapidly in recent decades. Dengue is underreported in Africa, but recent outbreaks and seroprevalence data suggest that DENV is widespread there. A lack of ongoing surveillance limits knowledge about its spatial reach and hinders disease control planning. We sought to add data on dengue distribution in Kenya through diagnostic testing of serum specimens from persons with an acute febrile illness (AFI) attending an outpatient clinic in rural western Kenya (Asembo) during rainy seasons. Patients with symptoms not likely to be misclassified as dengue (e.g., diarrhea and anemia), those with a positive diagnostic laboratory results which explained their febrile illness, or those with serum collected more than 5 days after fever onset were excluded. However, febrile patients with a positive malaria smear were included in the study. We used reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to test for DENV and IgM anti-DENV to test for recent infection. Of the 615 serum specimens available for testing, none were dengue positive by either RT-PCR or IgM anti-DENV testing. Dengue did not appear to be a cause of febrile illness in this area of western Kenya, although our relatively small sample size may not have identified DENV infections occurring at low incidence. A more widespread AFI surveillance system that includes dengue diagnostic testing by RT-PCR and antibody-based methods is required to more definitively gauge the size and geographic distribution of DENV infection in western Kenya.

published proceedings

  • Am J Trop Med Hyg

author list (cited authors)

  • Matheson, A. I., Mogeni, O. D., Lacsina, J. R., Ochieng, M., Audi, A., Bigogo, G., ... Montgomery, J. M.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Matheson, Alastair I||Mogeni, Ondari D||Lacsina, Joshua R||Ochieng, Melvin||Audi, Allan||Bigogo, Godfrey||Neatherlin, John||Margolis, Harold S||Fields, Barry||Ahenda, Petronella||Walson, Judd L||Montgomery, Joel M

publication date

  • November 2020