Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Biological Sciences


Douglas Watts


Dengue viruses (DENV), including the 4 serotypes are the cause of dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever. The viruses are transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in urban communities in tropical, sub-tropical, and temperate regions and are the cause of the highest rate of infection and death of all known Flaviviruses. DENV are endemic in United States (US) -Mexico (MX) border communities in the Rio Grande Valley and suspected of being endemic in Ciudad Juarez, a sister city to El Paso, TX. To determine if DENV were endemic in the El Paso community, cord-blood samples from mothers were tested for antibody by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT), and microsphere-immunoassay (MIA). DENV antibody positive samples were further tested for West Nile Virus (WNV) antibody for the possibility of cross-reactivity, considering that WNV is enzootic in El Paso, TX. Of the 1,472 mothers who participated in the study, 0.74% (11/1,472) were positive for DENV antibodies as evidence of a past DENV infection, 3.30% (48/1,472) were positive for WNV antibody, and 0.20% (3/1,472) of the mothers were positive for antibodies to both viruses. The results for 0.20% (3/1472) of the mothers were positive for antibody to only WNV envelope indicating undetermined flavivirus exposure. Another 0.8% (13/1472) of the plasma samples were reactive by ELISA but were negative by the PRNT and MIA. An additional 28 ELISA non-reactive samples were also non-reactive by the MIA and PRNT, thus confirming the accuracy of the ELISA results. Overall, the results for the UTEP-PRNT and the NY-MIA were in concordance for 91% (91/100) of the samples tested for DENV and WNV antibodies. Although 6 of the 11 DENV antibody positive mothers did not have a history of travel to a DENV endemic country, the findings of this survey provided further evidence of local transmission of WNV but did not support a stable state of autochthonous transmission of DENV in the El Paso community.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

65 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

veronica Suarez