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November 10, 1997

Prevalence of Infection With Dengue Virus Among International Travelers

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine (Drs Jelinek, Hölscher, Löscher, and Nothdurft), and the Max von Pettenkofer Institute (Dr Dobler), University of Munich, Munich, Germany.

Arch Intern Med. 1997;157(20):2367-2370. doi:10.1001/archinte.1997.00440410099011

Background:  Dengue has been recognized as a potential hazard to tourists. A prospective, controlled study in the outpatient clinic of a German infectious disease clinic was conducted to assess the prevalence of dengue virus infection among international travelers.

Methods:  Serum samples from 130 patients with signs or recent history clinically compatible with dengue (fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, or rash), 95 matched controls with diarrhea, and 26 patients who never visited a country endemic for dengue were investigated.

Results:  Nine (6.9%) of the 130 patients with compatible symptoms and 1 (1%) of the 95 controls with diarrhea developed rising antibody titers against dengue virus. Of these 10 patients with probable dengue infection, 6 had been to Thailand, 2 to Malaysia, and 1 each to Indonesia and Brazil.

Conclusions:  Infection with dengue virus appears to be a realistic threat to travelers to Southeast Asia. Symptoms commonly associated with dengue, such as fever, myalgia, arthralgia, and vomiting, can be helpful for diagnosis when present, but the absence of typical symptoms does not exclude infection.Arch Intern Med. 1997;157:2367-2370