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Epidemiological and ecological characteristics of past dengue virus infection in Santa Clara, Peru

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To determine risk factors associated with dengue (DEN) virus infection among residents of Santa Clara, Peru, a rural Amazonian village near Iquitos, a cross-sectional serological, epidemiological and environmental survey was conducted. Demographic, social and behavioural information was obtained by standardized questionnaire from 1225 Santa Clara residents (61.3%) aged 5 years or older. Additional data were obtained on the environmental variables and immature mosquito species and abundance surrounding each household (n=248). Sera that had been collected previously by the Peruvian Ministry of Health from residents were tested by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for DEN virus IgG antibody. Antibody identity was verified as DEN by plaque reduction neutralization test. Data on individuals were analysed by univariate and multivariable methods, and independent sample t-tests. Spatial clustering was evaluated by comparing distances among DEN positive households. Overall, antibody prevalence was 29.4% and more than doubled from the youngest to the oldest age groups, but did not differ by sex. Curiously, length of residence in Santa Clara was negatively associated with DEN virus antibodies. More frequent travel to Iquitos was positively associated with seroprevalence. Residents who obtained water from a river source rather than a local well also had significantly higher antibody prevalence. None of the environmental variables measured at each household corresponded to the patterns of antibody distribution. Of the larval mosquitoes found around residences, all were determined to be species other than Aedes. No evidence of spatial autocorrelation among antibody-positive households was detected. These results strongly suggested that recent DEN virus transmission did not occur in the village and that most infections of residents of this rural village were acquired while visiting the city of Iquitos.
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Keywords: Aedes aegypti; Peru; dengue fever; spatial pattern; vector ecology; virus antibody serology

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA 2: Hammersmith Medicines Research, Central Middlesex Hospital, Park Royal, London NW10 7NS, UK 3: Ministry of Health, Iquitos, Peru; United States Naval Medical Research Institute Detachment (NAMRID), Lima, Peru

Publication date: 2001-03-01

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