What is the economic impact of dengue?

Updated: May 03, 2019
  • Author: Darvin Scott Smith, MD, MSc, DTM&H; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Although dengue is an extremely important arboviral illness globally, literature evaluating the economic impact is fairly sparse, with some conflicting findings. A recent expert panel assessment and 2 studies in the Americas recommended additional research to fill important information gaps, including disease outcomes and accurate statistics regarding disease burden, that could better inform future decision making regarding control and prevention. [55, 56, 57]

A 5-year prospective study in Thai children examined the relative economic burden of dengue infection in children on the local population. Most disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost to dengue resulted from long-term illness in children who had not been hospitalized. The infecting serotype appeared to be the major determinant of DALYs lost, with DEN-2 and DEN-3 responsible for 59%. The mean cost of illness from dengue was significantly higher than that from other febrile illnesses studied. [52]

A prospective study examined the direct and indirect costs of dengue infection in 1695 pediatric and adult patients in 8 countries. The average illness lasted 11.9 days for ambulatory patients and 11 days for hospitalized patients. Hospitalized students lost 5.6 days of school. Those at work lost 9.9 work days. Overall mean costs were more than double (1394 international dollars [I$]) for hospitalized cases. With an annual average of 594,000 cases the aggregate economic cost was estimated to be at least I$587 million, without factoring in underreporting of disease and dengue surveillance and vector control costs. This represents a significant global economic burden in low-income countries. [57]

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