Phylogeographic analysis of dengue virus serotype 1 and cosmopolitan serotype 2 in Africa

Philippe Selhorst, Sebastian Lequime, Gytis Dudas, Sam Proesmans, Pascal Lutumba, Freddy Katshongo, Kadrie Ramadan, Isabel Micalessi, Steve Ahuka-Mundeke, Veerle Vanlerberghe, Marjan Van Esbroeck, KevinK Ariën

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OBJECTIVES: The origin and spread of dengue virus (DENV) circulating in Africa remain poorly characterized, with African sequences representing <1% of global sequence data.

METHODS: Whole genome sequencing was performed on serum samples (n = 29) from an undifferentiated fever study in 2016 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and from febrile travelers returning from Africa. The evolutionary history of the newly acquired African DENV-1 (n = 1) and cosmopolitan genotype DENV-2 (n = 18) genomes was reconstructed using a phylogeographic, time-scaled Bayesian analysis on a curated DENV panel including all known African sequences.

RESULTS: A minimum of 10 and eight introductions could be identified into Africa for DENV-1 and cosmopolitan DENV-2, respectively, almost all originating from Asia. Three introductions were previously unknown. The currently circulating virus comprises mainly the recently introduced clades and one long-established African clade. Robust geographical clustering suggests limited spread of DENV after each introduction. Our data identified the DRC as the source of the 2018 Angolan DENV-2 epidemic, and similarly, the 2013 Angolan DENV-1 outbreak as the origin of our DRC study.

CONCLUSION: Active genomic surveillance of DENV in Africa at the portals of entry might help early outbreak response and limit sero- and genotype spread and human disease burden.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-52
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
Early online date22-Apr-2023
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2023


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