Background: Mosquito-borne flaviviruses, such as dengue and Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), cause life-threatening diseases, particularly in the tropics. Methods: Here we performed unbiased metagenomic sequencing of RNA extracted from the serum of four patients and the plasma of one patient, all hospitalized at a tertiary care centre in South India with severe or prolonged febrile illness, together with the serum from one healthy control, in 2014. Results: We identified and assembled a complete dengue virus type 3 sequence from a case of severe dengue fever. We also identified a small number of JEV sequences in the serum of two adults with febrile illness, including one with severe dengue. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the dengue sequence belonged to genotype III. It has an estimated divergence time of 13.86 years from the most highly related Indian strains. In total, 11 amino acid substitutions were predicted for this strain in the antigenic envelope protein, when compared to the parent strain used for development of the first commercial dengue vaccine. Conclusions: We demonstrate that both genome assembly and detection of a low number of viral sequences are possible through the unbiased sequencing of clinical material. These methods may help ascertain causal agents for febrile illnesses with no known cause.
- Febrile illness
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology