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High dengue case capture rate in four years of a cohort study in Nicaragua compared to national surveillance data.

Abstract

Dengue is a major public health problem in tropical and subtropical regions; however, under-reporting of cases to national surveillance systems hinders accurate knowledge of disease burden and costs. Laboratory-confirmed dengue cases identified through the Nicaraguan Pediatric Dengue Cohort Study (PDCS) were compared to those reported from other health facilities in Managua to the National Epidemiologic Surveillance (NES) program of the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health. Compared to reporting among similar pediatric populations in Managua, the PDCS identified 14 to 28 (average 21.3) times more dengue cases each year per 100,000 persons than were reported to the NES. Applying these annual expansion factors to national-level data, we estimate that the incidence of confirmed pediatric dengue throughout Nicaragua ranged from 300 to 1000 cases per 100,000 persons. We have estimated a much higher incidence of dengue than reported by the Ministry of Health. A country-specific expansion factor for dengue that allows for a more accurate estimate of incidence may aid governments and other institutions calculating disease burden, costs, resource needs for prevention and treatment, and the economic benefits of drug and vaccine development.

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