Development and evaluation of a real-time RT-PCR assay for Sindbis virus detection.

Infection Biology Research Program, Research Programs Unit, Department of Virology, Haartman Institute, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
Journal of virological methods (Impact Factor: 2.13). 11/2011; 179(1):185-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2011.10.021
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Sindbis virus (SINV) is an arthropod-borne alphavirus found widely in Eurasia, Africa and Oceania. Clinical SINV infection, characterized by rash and arthritis, is reported primarily in Northern Europe. The laboratory diagnosis of SINV infection is based currently on serology. A one-step TaqMan(®) real-time RT-PCR assay was developed for the detection of SINV and evaluated its clinical performance with acute-phase serum samples. The specificity and sensitivity of the real-time PCR assay were assessed using cell cultured Finnish SINV strains. The applicability of the assay for diagnostic use was evaluated using 58 serum samples from patients infected with SINV. The real-time RT-PCR assay was specific and sensitive for the detection of SINV in cell culture supernatants with a 95% detection limit of 9 genome copies/reaction determined by probit analysis. However, in the assay only 7/58 (12%) of serum samples were positive of which two were also positive by conventional nested PCR assay and none by virus isolation. This novel assay is specific and sensitive for detection of SINV and can be used for example for screening SINV in wildlife. However, molecular diagnostic techniques using serum samples seem to be of limited value for the diagnosis of human SINV infection due to the short and low viraemia of infection with SINV.

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    ABSTRACT: SUMMARY Sindbis virus (SINV), the prototype positive-sense RNA alphavirus, causes febrile arthritis and is present throughout Afro-Eurasia. Little is known of the epidemiology of Sindbis fever due to insufficient surveillance in most endemic countries. The epidemiological features of Sindbis fever in humans in South Africa are described here based on a retrospective study of suspected arbovirus cases submitted for laboratory investigation from 2006 to 2010. Cases were detected annually mostly during the late summer/early autumn months and an increase in cases was noted for 2010, coinciding with an outbreak of Rift Valley fever. Cases were reported most often from the central plateau of South Africa and involved mostly males. No severe or fatal cases were reported and cases were associated with febrile arthralgia as commonly reported for SINV infection. Further surveillance is required to reveal the true extent of the morbidity of Sindbis fever in South Africa.
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