Laboratory-Acquired Dengue Virus Infection, United States, 2018

Tyler M. Sharp; Teresa G. Fisher; Kristin Long; Garry Coulson; Freddy A. Medina; Carolyn Herzig; Mary Beth Koza; Jorge Muñoz-Jordán; Gabriela Paz-Bailey; Zack Moore; Carl Williams


Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2020;26(7):1534-1537. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Investigation of a dengue case in a laboratory worker in North Carolina, USA, revealed that the case-patient prepared high-titer dengue virus stocks soon before illness onset. Improper doffing of gloves with an open finger wound likely resulted in cutaneous exposure. This case reinforces recommendations for enhanced precautions when working with high-titer dengue virus.


Four genetically distinct but serologically related dengue viruses (DENV-1–4) cause dengue, an acute febrile illness common throughout the tropics.[1] DENV is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes and has a median incubation period of 6 days.[2] Other routes of DENV transmission include perinatal,[3] blood transfusion,[4] needle stick,[5] and laboratory exposure.[6–8]

In August 2018, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA) was notified of a dengue case in a laboratory worker. NCDHHS and CDC conducted an investigation to identify the most likely route of exposure.