Dengue virus (DEN) causes the most prevalent arthropod-borne viral illness in humans worldwide. Immune mechanisms that are involved in protection and pathogenesis of DEN infection have not been fully elucidated due largely to the lack of an adequate animal model. Therefore, as a first step, we characterized the primary immune response in immunocompetent inbred A/J mice that were infected intravenously with a non-mouse-adapted DEN type 2 (DEN2) strain. A subset (55%) of infected mice developed paralysis by 14 days post-infection (p.i.), harbored infectious DEN in the central nervous system (CNS), and had an elevated hematocrit and a decreased white blood cell (WBC) count. Immunologic studies detected (i). increased numbers of CD69(+) splenic natural killer (NK) and B cells at day 3 p.i., (ii). DEN-specific IgM and IgG responses by days 3 and 7 p.i., respectively, and (iii). splenocyte production of IFNgamma at day 14 p.i. We conclude that the early activities of NK cells, B cells and IgM, and later actions of IFNgamma and IgG likely play a role in the defense against DEN infection.