OBJECTIVES: The origin and spread of dengue virus (DENV) circulating in Africa remain poorly characterized, with African sequences representing <1% of global sequence data.
METHODS: Whole genome sequencing was performed on serum samples (n = 29) from an undifferentiated fever study in 2016 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and from febrile travelers returning from Africa. The evolutionary history of the newly acquired African DENV-1 (n = 1) and cosmopolitan genotype DENV-2 (n = 18) genomes was reconstructed using a phylogeographic, time-scaled Bayesian analysis on a curated DENV panel including all known African sequences.
RESULTS: A minimum of 10 and eight introductions could be identified into Africa for DENV-1 and cosmopolitan DENV-2, respectively, almost all originating from Asia. Three introductions were previously unknown. The currently circulating virus comprises mainly the recently introduced clades and one long-established African clade. Robust geographical clustering suggests limited spread of DENV after each introduction. Our data identified the DRC as the source of the 2018 Angolan DENV-2 epidemic, and similarly, the 2013 Angolan DENV-1 outbreak as the origin of our DRC study.
CONCLUSION: Active genomic surveillance of DENV in Africa at the portals of entry might help early outbreak response and limit sero- and genotype spread and human disease burden.
- Dengue Virus/genetics
- Bayes Theorem
- Disease Outbreaks