Suspected outbreak of dengue fever in Houston: Clinical characteristics and determination of autochthonous transmission between 2003 and 2005

Emily Rebecca Herrington, The University of Texas School of Public Health

Abstract

Houston, Texas maintains the appropriate climate and mosquito populations to support the circulation of dengue viruses. The city is susceptible to the introduction and subsequent local transmission of dengue virus with its proximity to dengue-endemic Mexico and the high degree of international travel routed through its airports. In 2008, a study at the University of Texas School of Public Health identified 58 suspected dengue fever cases that presented at hospitals and clinics in the Houston area. Serum or CSF samples of the 58 samples tested positive or equivocal for the presence of anti-dengue IgM antibodies (Rodriguez, 2008). Here, we present the results of an investigation aimed to describe the clinical characteristics of the 58 suspected dengue fever cases and to determine if local transmission had occurred. Data from medical record abstractions and personal telephone interviews were used to describe clinical characteristics and travel history of the suspected cases. Our analysis classified six probable dengue fever cases based on the case definition from the World Health Organization. Three of the probable cases for which we were able to obtain travel history had not recently traveled to an endemic area prior to onset of symptoms suggesting the illnesses were locally acquired in Houston. Further analysis led us to hypothesize that additional cases of dengue fever are present in our study population. Fifty-one percent of the study population was diagnosed with meningitis and/or encephalitis. Sixty percent of the individuals who received a lumbar puncture had abnormal CSF. Together these findings indicate viral infection with neurological involvement, which has been reported to occur with dengue fever. Among the individuals who received liver enzyme analysis, 54% had evidence of abnormal liver enzyme levels, a clinical sign commonly observed with dengue. Our results indicate that a suspected outbreak of dengue fever with autochthonous transmission occurred in the Houston area between 2003 and 2005. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Public Health|Health Sciences, Epidemiology

Recommended Citation

Emily Rebecca Herrington, "Suspected outbreak of dengue fever in Houston: Clinical characteristics and determination of autochthonous transmission between 2003 and 2005" (January 1, 2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). Paper AAI1467485.
http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/dissertations/AAI1467485

Share

COinS