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Dengue virus exposure among blood donors in Ghana

P. W. Narkwa
M. Mutocheluh
T. B. Kwofie
M. Owusu
A. Annan
I. Ali
J. K. Boamah


Dengue is an urban arbovirus whose aetiologic agent is the flavivirus with four distinct antigen serotypes (DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3 and DENV-4) that is transmitted to humans through the bite of the mosquito Aedes aegypti. Ghana is endemic for Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and probably dengue viruses. Due to limited data on dengue virus exposure among Ghanaians, we surveyed 188 healthy adult blood donors for the presence of IgG and IgM antibodies to the four serotypes of dengue. Five milliliters of peripheral blood from the blood donors were collected in plain tubes. Serum was then obtained and ELISA tests were employed to detect both dengue virus total antibodies and IgM. The samples were further tested for dengue virus RNA using RT-PCR. Dengue virus IgG was positive for 43.6% of all the 188 blood donor samples tested but all donors were negative for anti-dengue IgM antibody and dengue virus RNA. The rate of dengue virus total antibody exposure did not differ statistically between urban and rural districts. This study shows for the first time that some regions of Ghana are hyperendemic for dengue virus infection but suggests blood for transfusion is invariably dengue virus free. This report has provided a baseline data that will inform wider discussions about the impact of this dengue fever and also guide policy makers to develop effective and affordable early warning and outbreak response systems for Ghana.

Journal of Medical and Biomedical Sciences (2016) 5(2), 30-35

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print ISSN: 2026-6294