How frequently do outbreaks of severe dengue (dengue hemorrhagic fever) occur?

Updated: May 03, 2019
  • Author: Darvin Scott Smith, MD, MSc, DTM&H; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Probable outbreaks of dengue fever occurred sporadically every 10-30 years until after World War II. The socioeconomic disruptions caused by World War II resulted in increased worldwide spread of dengue viruses and capable vectors. The first epidemic of dengue hemorrhagic fever in the modern era was described in Manila in 1953. After that, outbreaks of dengue fever became more common.

A pattern developed in which dengue fever epidemics occurred with increasing frequency and were associated with occasional dengue hemorrhagic fever cases. Subsequently, dengue hemorrhagic fever epidemics occurred every few years. Eventually, dengue hemorrhagic fever epidemics occurred yearly, with major outbreaks occurring approximately every 3 years. This pattern has repeated itself as dengue fever has spread to new regions.


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