Dengue is an important arboviral disease with about 100 million dengue cases per year, of which, ~5% result in severe disease. Clinical differentiation of dengue from other acute febrile illnesses (AFI) is difficult, and diagnostic blood tests are costly. We evaluated the utility of anti-DENV IgM in urine to identify dengue cases among AFI patients enrolled in a clinical study.
Between May 2012-March 2013, 1538 study participants with fever for ≤7 days were enrolled, a medical history was obtained, and serum and urine specimens were collected. Serum was tested for DENV RNA and anti-DENV IgM. Urine was tested for anti-DENV IgM, and its sensitivity and specificity to detect sera laboratory-positive dengue cases were calculated. We evaluated if urine anti-DENV IgM positivity early (≤5 days post-illness onset [DPO]) and late (6-14 DPO) in the clinical course was associated with dengue severity.
Urine anti-DENV IgM sensitivity and specificity were 47.4% and 98.5%, respectively, when compared with serum anti-DENV IgM ELISA results, and 29.7% and 91.1% when compared with serum rRT-PCR results. There was no correlation between urine anti-DENV IgM positivity and patient sex or pre-existing chronic disease. Early in the clinical course, a significantly higher proportion of those who developed dengue with warning signs had anti-DENV IgM in their urine when compared to those without warning signs (20.4% vs. 4.3%). There was no difference in the proportion with urine anti-DENV IgM positivity between severity groups late in the clinical course.
While detection of urine anti-DENV IgM lacked adequate diagnostic sensitivity, it is a highly specific marker for laboratory-positive dengue, and its presence early in the clinical course may distinguish those with more severe disease. Further assessment of urine anti-DENV IgM by DPO is warranted to determine its utility as an early diagnostic (and possibly prognostic) marker for dengue.