The kinetics of total and dengue virus-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) were studied in serial serum samples obtained from 168 patients, 41 of whom suffered from primary dengue virus infection and 127 suffered from secondary dengue virus infection. Seventy-one patients were classified as dengue fever, 30 as dengue hemorrhagic fever, and 67 as dengue shock syndrome. A control group included single serum samples from patients with a herpes virus infection (n = 14), non-dengue febrile patients (n = 10), and healthy blood donors (n = 10). Patients with dengue virus infection had higher levels of total and dengue virus-specific IgE than non-dengue patients (P < 0.05). Patients with secondary dengue virus infections had not significantly increased levels of both total and dengue virus-specific IgE in the acute phase of disease compared to patients with primary dengue virus infections. Dengue virus-specific IgE was significantly higher in dengue hemorrhagic fever and/or dengue shock syndrome patients compared to dengue fever and non-dengue patients (P < 0.05). In conclusion, this study showed elevated total and dengue virus-specific IgE serum antibody levels in the acute stage of disease. Therefore, measurement of both total and dengue virus-specific IgE serum antibodies can be used as an additional prognostic marker in the development of severe complications in dengue virus infections. In addition, the presence and increase of dengue virus-specific IgE serum antibodies in patients with dengue virus infections is suggestive of the pathogenetic role that IgE may play in the hemostatic disorders observed in dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome. J. Med. Virol. 70:91–98, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.