A TEM micrograph showing dengue virus virions (the cluster of dark dots near the center)
Dengue fever virus (DENV) is an RNA virus of the family Flaviviridae; genus Flavivirus. Other members of the same genus include yellow fever virus, West Nile virus, St. Louis encephalitis virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, tick-borne encephalitis virus, Kyasanur forest disease virus, and Omsk hemorrhagic fever virus. Most are transmitted by arthropods (mosquitoes or ticks), and are therefore also referred to as arboviruses (arthropod-borne viruses).
The dengue virus genome (genetic material) contains about 11,000 nucleotide bases, which code for the three different types of protein molecules (C, prM and E) that form the virus particle and seven other types of protein molecules (NS1, NS2a, NS2b, NS3, NS4a, NS4b, NS5) that are only found in infected host cells and are required for replication of the virus. There are four strains of the virus, which are called serotypes, and these are referred to as DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3 and DENV-4. All four serotypes can cause the full spectrum of disease. Infection with one serotype is believed to produce lifelong immunity to that serotype but only short term protection against the others.
The severe complications on secondary infection occurs particularly if someone previously exposed to serotype DENV-1 then contracts serotype DENV-2 or serotype DENV-3, or if someone previously exposed to type DENV-3 then acquires DENV-2.
The causative agent of Dengue Fever (also known as the Devil's Crunch or Breakbone Fever) is the Dengue Fever Virus (DENV), a member of the Flaviviridae family and the Flavivirus species. However, there are four serotypes of the Dengue fever virus, aptly named DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3 and DENV-4 and within these serotypes there are clades and strains that are inherently different in nature. However, as a conclusion, one would say the DENV virus is the agent... [continues]
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