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30 years of dengue fatal cases in Brazil: a laboratorial-based investigation of 1047 cases

Background: Dengue viruses (DENV) have emerged and reemerged in Brazil in the past 30 years causing explosive epidemics. The disease may range from clinically asymptomatic infections to severe and fatal outcomes. We aimed to describe the epidemiological, clinical and laboratorial aspects of the dengue fatal cases received by a Regional Reference Laboratory, Brazil in 30 years. Methods: A total of 1047 suspected fatal dengue cases were received from 1986 to 2015 and analyzed in the Laboratory of Flavivirus, FIOCRUZ. Suspected cases were submitted to viral detection, serological and molecular methods for cases confirmation. Influence of gender, age, serotype and type of infection (primary/secondary) on death outcome, as well the interactions between serotype and age or infection and age and type of infection were also studied. Results: A total of 359 cases (34.2%) were confirmed and DENV-1 (11.1%), DENV-2 (43.9%), DENV-3 (32.8%) and DENV-4 (13.7%) were detected. Overall, fatal cases occurred more often in primary infections (59.3%, p = 0.001). However, in 2008, fatal cases were mainly associated to secondary infections (p = 0.003). In 2008 and 2011, deaths were more frequent on children and those infected by DENV-2 presented a higher risk for fatal outcome. Moreover, children with secondary infections had a 4-fold higher risk for death. Conclusions: Dengue is a multifactorial disease and, factors such as viral strain/serotype, occurrence of secondary infections and co-morbidities may lead to a severe outcome. However, the high dengue incidence and transmission during epidemics, such as those observed in Brazil may overwhelm and collapse the public health services, potentially impacting on increased disease severity and mortality.

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  • Nunes, Priscila Conrado Guerra
  • Filippis, Ana Maria Bispo de
  • Lima, Monique Queiroz da Rocha
  • Faria, Nieli Rodrigues da Costa
  • Nogueira, Fernanda de Bruycker
  • Santos, Jaqueline Bastos
  • Heringer, Manoela
  • Carneiro, Thaís Chouin
  • Lima, Dinair Couto
  • Gonçalves, Bianca de Santis
  • Sampaio, Simone Alves
  • Araújo, Eliane Saraiva Machado de
  • Sánchez-Arcila, Juan Camilo
  • Santos, Flávia Barreto dos
  • Nogueira, Rita Maria Ribeiro