Dengue as a cause of acute undifferentiated fever in Vietnam

Hoang Lan Phuong, Peter J. de Vries, Tran T.T. Nga, Phan T. Giao, Le Q. Hung, Tran Q. Binh, Nguyen V. Nam, Nico Nagelkerke, Piet A. Kager

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77 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Dengue is a common cause of fever in the tropics but its contribution to the total burden of febrile illnesses that is presented to primary health facilities in endemic regions such as Vietnam, is largely unknown. We aimed to report the frequency of dengue as a cause of fever in Binh Thuan Province, to describe the characteristics of dengue patients, and analyze the diagnostic accuracy of the health care workers and the determinants of the diagnostic process. Methods: All patients presenting with acute undifferentiated fever at twelve community health posts and one clinic at the provincial malaria station, Binh Thuan Province, a dengue endemic province in southern Vietnam, were included. Record forms were used to fill in patient and diseases characteristics, pre-referral treatment, signs and symptoms, provisional diagnosis and prescribed treatment, referral and final outcome. Serum samples were collected at first presentation and after 3 weeks for serologic diagnosis. Results: 2096 patients were included from April 2001 to March 2002. All 697 patients with paired serum samples were tested for dengue virus IgM and IgG. Acute dengue was found in 33.6% cases and past dengue virus infections were found in 57.1 % cases. Acute primary infections were more common among children under 15 years old than among adults (7.7% vs. 3.5%, p value < 0.001). Younger age significantly predicted acute dengue (RR per increasing year of age (95 % Cl): 0.986 (0.975-0.997, p value = 0.014). 48.9% of cases with clinical diagnosis of acute dengue were serologically confirmed and 32.5% of cases without clinical diagnosis of acute dengue were positive by serology after all (OR = 1.981, p value 0.025, 95% CI: 1.079 - 3.635). Tourniquet test was not a predictor for dengue diagnosis. Conclusion: Dengue is responsible for one third of the fevers presented to the public primary health services in Binh Thuan, southern Vietnam. It presents as a highly unspecific illness and is hardly recognized as a clinical entity by primary physicians.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Publication statusPublished - Jul 25 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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