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Free Content Risk factors and clinical features associated with severe dengue infection in adults and children during the 2001 epidemic in Chonburi, Thailand

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Summary Objectives 

Dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) is an important cause of morbidity in South-east Asia and used to occur almost exclusively in young children. In recent years, there has been a progressive shift in age-distribution towards older children and adults. We investigated an outbreak in 2001 in both children and adults, in an endemic area of Thailand. Methods 

Retrospective study of 347 patients with serologically confirmed dengue infection admitted to Chonburi Hospital during an epidemic in 2001. Results 

A total of 128 (37%) patients had dengue fever (DF) and 219 (63%) had DHF. Patients with DHF were significantly older than patients with DF (11 years vs. 8 years). Clinical bleeding was noted in 124 individuals, both with DF (n = 24) and DHF (n = 100), and significantly more frequently in adults. Twenty-nine (13.2%) of all DHF cases were caused by primary infection. Secondary dengue infection was associated significantly with the development of DHF in children, OR (95% CI) = 3.63 (1.94–6.82), P < 0.0001, but not in adults, OR (95% CI) = 0.6 (0.02–6.04), P = 1. Unusual clinical manifestations were observed in 23 patients: three presented with encephalopathy and 20 with highly elevated liver-enzymes. In the latter group, four patients were icteric and nine had gastrointestinal bleeding. Conclusion 

These results indicate that DHF in South-east Asia is common in both children and adults. In dengue-endemic countries, dengue should be considered as a differential diagnosis in patients with clinical gastrointestinal bleeding in association with increased liver enzymes.

Keywords: Thailand; adults; dengue fever; dengue haemorrhagic fever; risk factors

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1:  Institute of Tropical Medicine, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany 2:  Department of Paediatrics, Chonburi Regional Hospital, Chonburi, Thailand 3:  Department of Internal Medicine, Chonburi Regional Hospital, Chonburi, Thailand 4:  Department of Tropical Medicine, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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