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Phylogenetic history demonstrates two different lineages of dengue type 1 virus in Colombia

Jairo A Mendez14*, Jose A Usme-Ciro2, Cristina Domingo35, Gloria J Rey1, Juan A Sanchez4, Antonio Tenorio3 and Juan C Gallego-Gomez2

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratorio de Virología, Instituto Nacional de Salud, Avenida/Calle 26 No. 51-20, Bogotá D.C.,Colombia

2 Viral Vector Core and Gene Therapy, Neurosciences Group, Sede de Investigación Universitaria, Universidad de Antioquia, A.A. 1226, Medellín, Colombia

3 Laboratorio de Arbovirus y Enfermedades Víricas Importadas, Centro Nacional de Microbiología, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Carretera Majadahonda-Pozuelo Km2, Majadahonda (28220), Madrid, Spain

4 Departamento de Ciencias Biológicas-Facultad de Ciencias, Laboratorio BIOMMAR, Universidad de los Andes, Carrera 1 No. 18a-10 Bloque J-309, Bogotá D.C.,Colombia

5 Current address: Robert Koch Institute, Nordufer 20, Berlin 13353, Germany

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Virology Journal 2010, 7:226  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-7-226

Published: 14 September 2010



Dengue Fever is one of the most important viral re-emergent diseases affecting about 50 million people around the world especially in tropical and sub-tropical countries. In Colombia, the virus was first detected in the earliest 70's when the disease became a major public health concern. Since then, all four serotypes of the virus have been reported. Although most of the huge outbreaks reported in this country have involved dengue virus serotype 1 (DENV-1), there are not studies about its origin, genetic diversity and distribution.


We used 224 bp corresponding to the carboxyl terminus of envelope (E) gene from 74 Colombian isolates in order to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships and to estimate time divergences. Analyzed DENV-1 Colombian isolates belonged to the formerly defined genotype V. Only one virus isolate was clasified in the genotype I, likely representing a sole introduction that did not spread. The oldest strains were closely related to those detected for the first time in America in 1977 from the Caribbean and were detected for two years until their disappearance about six years later. Around 1987, a split up generated 2 lineages that have been evolving separately, although not major aminoacid changes in the analyzed region were found.


DENV-1 has been circulating since 1978 in Colombia. Yet, the phylogenetic relationships between strains isolated along the covered period of time suggests that viral strains detected in some years, although belonging to the same genotype V, have different recent origins corresponding to multiple re-introduction events of viral strains that were circulating in neighbor countries. Viral strains used in the present study did not form a monophyletic group, which is evidence of a polyphyletic origin. We report the rapid spread patterns and high evolution rate of the different DENV-1 lineages.