COVID-19 and Dengue co-infection in paediatric patients: An endemic in a pandemic

Pavani, S., Srinath, M., Sultana, W., Rani, V. S., *Mehreen, S. F., and Ravi, V.

Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratory, Department of Microbiology, Osmania Medical College, Koti, Hyderabad-500095, Telangana, India

*Correspondence to:; +91 8500499786

Authors have equal contribution to the study



Background: The clinical presentation and outcome of COVID-19 are likely to be complicated by co-infection with other endemic viruses such as Dengue. This study aimed to investigate the occurrence of co-infections of SARS-CoV-2 and Dengue viruses in paediatric patients from Osmania General Hospital, Hyderabad, Telangana, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methodology: This was a cross-sectional study of 420 paediatric patients (aged 5-17 years) with febrile illness, consecutively recruited from the hospital from June to November 2021. Serum samples were collected and tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, and COVID-19 positive samples were further analysed for Dengue IgM antibodies by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

Results: Of the 420 patients, serum samples of 109 (26.0%) were reactive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Of these, 13 were reactive for Dengue IgM antibodies, giving a co-infection rate of 3.1% (1.9% females and 1.2% males). The three most common symptoms in the co-infected patients were joint ache (myalgia) in 53.8% (75.0% in females, 20.0% in males, p=0.1026), fever in 46.2% (50.0% in females, 40.0% in males, p=1.000), and rash in 46.2% (62.5% in females, 20.0% in males, p=0.2657).

Conclusion: These findings suggest that paediatric patients with COVID-19 may be susceptible to Dengue. Understanding the presence of multiple viral infections in paediatric patients is crucial for accurate diagnosis, management, and prognosis. Further research is needed to explore the potential synergistic mechanisms of these co-infections.

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, Dengue, co-infection, paediatrics, antibodies, ELISA.

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COVID-19 and Dengue co-infection in paediatric patients: An endemic in a pandemic