Dengue seroprevalence, seroconversion and risk factors in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Parnali Dhar-Chowdhury, Kishor Kumar Paul, C. Emdad Haque, Shakhawat Hossain, L. Robbin Lindsay, Antonia Dibernardo, W. Abdullah Brooks, Michael A. Drebot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background: Dengue virus (DENV) activity has been reported in Dhaka, Bangladesh since the early 1960s with the greatest burden of dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever cases observed in 2000. Since this time, the intensity of dengue activity has varied from year to year, and its determining factors remained relatively unknown. In light of such gaps in knowledge, the main objectives of this study were to determine the magnitude of seroprevalence and seroconversion among the surveyed population, and establish the individual/household level risk factors for the presence of DENV antibodies among all age groups of target populations in the city of Dhaka. Methodology/Principal findings: Considering the lack of fine scale investigations on the factors driving dengue activity in Bangladesh, a prospective cohort study involving serological surveys was undertaken with participant interviews and blood donation across the city of Dhaka in 2012. Study participants were recruited from 12 of 90 wards and blood samples were collected during both the pre-monsoon (n = 1125) and post-monsoon (n = 600) seasons of 2012. The findings revealed that the seroprevalence in all pre-monsoon samples was 80.0% (900/1125) while the seropositivity in the pre-monsoon samples that had paired post-monsoon samples was 83.3% (503/600). Of the 97 paired samples that were negative at the pre-monsoon time point, 56 were positive at the post-monsoon time point. This resulted in a seroprevalence of 93.2% (559/600) among individuals tested during the post-monsoon period. Seroprevalence trended higher with age with children exhibiting a lower seropositivity as compared to adults. Results from this study also indicated that DENV strains were the only flaviviruses circulating in Dhaka in 2012. A multivariate analysis revealed that age, possession of indoor potted plants, and types of mosquito control measures were significant factors associated with dengue seroprevalence; while attendance in public/mass gatherings, and use of mosquito control measures were significantly associated with DENV seroconversion after adjusting for all other variables. Conclusions/Significance: Our study suggests that there is a high level of endemic dengue virus circulation in the city of Dhaka which has resulted in significant DENV seroprevalence among its residents. Seropositivity increased with age, however, a substantial proportion of children are at risk for DENV infections. Our serological analysis also documents considerable DENV seroconversions among study participants which indicates that a large proportion of the population in the city of Dhaka were newly exposed to DENV during the study period (pre-and post-monsoon 2012). High levels of seroconversion suggest that there was an intense circulation of DENV in 2012 and this may have resulted in a significant risk for viral associated illness. Findings of our study further indicated that home-based interventions, such as removing indoor potted plants and increased bed net use, in addition to vector control measures in public parks, would reduce exposure to DENV and further decrease risk of viral associated disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0005475
JournalPLoS neglected tropical diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 23 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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