Dengue fever is massively under-reported in India, hampering our response

BMJ (online) (Impact Factor: 17.45). 12/2012; 345(dec19 17):e8574. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.e8574
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: Dengue is a systemic viral infection transmitted between humans by Aedes mosquitoes. For some patients, dengue is a life-threatening illness. There are currently no licensed vaccines or specific therapeutics, and substantial vector control efforts have not stopped its rapid emergence and global spread. The contemporary worldwide distribution of the risk of dengue virus infection and its public health burden are poorly known. Here we undertake an exhaustive assembly of known records of dengue occurrence worldwide, and use a formal modelling framework to map the global distribution of dengue risk. We then pair the resulting risk map with detailed longitudinal information from dengue cohort studies and population surfaces to infer the public health burden of dengue in 2010. We predict dengue to be ubiquitous throughout the tropics, with local spatial variations in risk influenced strongly by rainfall, temperature and the degree of urbanization. Using cartographic approaches, we estimate there to be 390 million (95% credible interval 284-528) dengue infections per year, of which 96 million (67-136) manifest apparently (any level of clinical or subclinical severity). This infection total is more than three times the dengue burden estimate of the World Health Organization. Stratification of our estimates by country allows comparison with national dengue reporting, after taking into account the probability of an apparent infection being formally reported. The most notable differences are discussed. These new risk maps and infection estimates provide novel insights into the global, regional and national public health burden imposed by dengue. We anticipate that they will provide a starting point for a wider discussion about the global impact of this disease and will help to guide improvements in disease control strategies using vaccine, drug and vector control methods, and in their economic evaluation.
    Nature 04/2013; 496(7446):504-507. DOI:10.1038/nature12060 · 41.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Between 2006 and 2012 India reported an annual average of 20,474 dengue cases. Although dengue has been notifiable since 1996, regional comparisons suggest that reported numbers substantially underrepresent the full impact of the disease. Adjustment for underreporting from a case study in Madurai district and an expert Delphi panel yielded an annual average of 5,778,406 clinically diagnosed dengue cases between 2006 and 2012, or 282 times the reported number per year. The total direct annual medical cost was US$548 million. Ambulatory settings treated 67% of cases representing 18% of costs, whereas 33% of cases were hospitalized, comprising 82% of costs. Eighty percent of expenditures went to private facilities. Including non-medical and indirect costs based on other dengue-endemic countries raises the economic cost to $1.11 billion, or $0.88 per capita. The economic and disease burden of dengue in India is substantially more than captured by officially reported cases, and increased control measures merit serious consideration.
    The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 10/2014; 91(6). DOI:10.4269/ajtmh.14-0002 · 2.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dengue presents a formidable and growing global economic and disease burden, with around half the world's population estimated to be at risk of infection. There is wide variation and substantial uncertainty in current estimates of dengue disease burden and, consequently, on economic burden estimates. Dengue disease varies across time, geography and persons affected. Variations in the transmission of four different viruses and interactions among vector density and host's immune status, age, pre-existing medical conditions, all contribute to the disease's complexity. This systematic review aims to identify and examine estimates of dengue disease burden and costs, discuss major sources of uncertainty, and suggest next steps to improve estimates. Economic analysis of dengue is mainly concerned with costs of illness, particularly in estimating total episodes of symptomatic dengue. However, national dengue disease reporting systems show a great diversity in design and implementation, hindering accurate global estimates of dengue episodes and country comparisons. A combination of immediate, short-, and long-term strategies could substantially improve estimates of disease and, consequently, of economic burden of dengue. Suggestions for immediate implementation include refining analysis of currently available data to adjust reported episodes and expanding data collection in empirical studies, such as documenting the number of ambulatory visits before and after hospitalization and including breakdowns by age. Short-term recommendations include merging multiple data sources, such as cohort and surveillance data to evaluate the accuracy of reporting rates (by health sector, treatment, severity, etc.), and using covariates to extrapolate dengue incidence to locations with no or limited reporting. Long-term efforts aim at strengthening capacity to document dengue transmission using serological methods to systematically analyze and relate to epidemiologic data. As promising tools for diagnosis, vaccination, vector control, and treatment are being developed, these recommended steps should improve objective, systematic measures of dengue burden to strengthen health policy decisions.
    PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 11/2014; 8(11):e3306. DOI:10.1371/journal.pntd.0003306 · 4.45 Impact Factor
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