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Dengue Antibodies Enhance Zika Infection?

Dengue-infected tissue - CDC; Frederick Murphy, Cynthia Goldsmith


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Previous flavivirus infection could help explain the severity of symptoms in some people infected during the ongoing Zika outbreak, researchers report.

The Scientist - by Tanya Lewis - April 28, 2016

Scientists at Florida Gulf Coast University and their colleagues have found that human cells were more likely to be infected with Zika virus in vitro if they contained antibodies to dengue virus. Their findings, detailed Monday (April 25) in a bioRxiv preprint, could help explain why Zika infection appears to be more severe in areas where dengue is endemic, and points to a potential unintended effect of dengue vaccination.

Antibodies to dengue can increase the virus’s infectivity for certain types of immune cells through a process called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE), resulting in the production of more virus and more severe illness.



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Comments - by HELEN BRANSWELL - February 17, 2016

A surge in the number of Zika virus cases in tandem with a rise in cases of a severe birth defect is leading scientists to consider an intriguing possibility: Perhaps it’s not just one causing the other.

Instead, some researchers are theorizing that Zika is contributing to an unexpectedly high rate of side effects because it is spreading in a population in which a large number of people have been previously infected with a closely related virus, dengue.

The theory — and it’s only that right now — is that prior infection with one or more of the four dengue viruses may be contributing to a spike in Brazil’s cases of neurological complications among some adults infected with Zika and cases of microcephaly — underdeveloped heads and brains — in some infants born to women infected with the virus during pregnancy.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE) - March 15, 2016

Association between Zika virus and microcephaly in French Polynesia, 2013–15: a retrospective study - Disease Outbreak News - March 7, 2016

. . . Analysis of dengue serology (immunofluorescent assay, microsphere immunoassay, and seroneutralisation) did not support recent dengue infection, even though most cases (95%) had pre-existing dengue immunity. . . .

Spread by the same mosquitoes, the more dangerous dengue virus is infecting people at record levels - by REED JOHNSON and  ROGERIO JELMAYER - March 31, 2016

RIBEIRÃO PRETO, Brazil—While global health agencies struggle to tame the rapidly spreading Zika virus, an older and deadlier pathogen is straining medical providers and setting record infection levels in Brazil: dengue.

Brazil registered a record 1.6 million cases of the mosquito-borne dengue virus last year, roughly triple the number in 2014. The number of dengue cases nationwide this year through February 20, the most recent data available, rose to 300,980, nearly 50% higher than for same period last year.


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