Severe dengue epidemics in Sri Lanka, 2003-2006

Nalaka Kanakaratne, Wahala M.P.B. Wahala, William B. Messer, Hasitha A. Tissera, Aruna Shahani, Nihal Abeysinghe, Aravinda M. De Silva, Maya Gunasekera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


Recent emergence of dengue hemorrhagic fever in the Indian subcontinent has been well documented in Sri Lanka. We compare recent (2003-2006) and past (1980-1997) dengue surveillance data for Sri Lanka. The 4 dengue virus (DENV) serotypes have been cocirculating in Sri Lanka for >30 years. Over this period, a new genotype of DENV-1 has replaced an old genotype. Moreover, new clades of DENV-3 genotype III viruses have replaced older clades. Emergence of new clades of DENV-3 in 1989 and 2000 coincided with abrupt increases in the number of reported dengue cases, implicating this serotype in severe epidemics. In 1980-1997, most reported dengue cases were in children. Recent epidemics have been characterized by many cases in children and adults. Changes in local transmission dynamics and genetic changes in DENV-3 are likely increasing emergence of severe dengue epidemics in Sri Lanka.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-199
Number of pages8
JournalEmerging infectious diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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