The rate of dengue fever IgG seropositivity was 77% in three communities in rural Ecuador that could be reached by road. In comparison, the rate was 38% in three communities that could not be reached by road.
Researchers conducted finger-prick tests and analyzed bloodspots from 642 individuals during July and August 2007. They evaluated for human dengue antibody levels using ELISA techniques.
Seropositivity levels significantly decreased with decreasing road access, according to the researchers. Katherine Connors, MPH, now a PhD student at Cornell University conducted the research while studying at the University of Michigan School of Public Health..
Connors said that an average of 43% of individuals aged younger than 5 years tested positive for dengue antibodies in villages with roads but that just 17% of the same group tested positive in non-road villages. For individuals aged older than 30 years, 91% from road communities and 49% from non-road communities had dengue antibodies. “These data suggest that increased road access does indeed play a role in dengue transmission,” Connors said.
Though dengue is considered to be a disease associated with urban populations, the researchers determined that there is a substantial dengue presence in rural northern coastal Ecuador. “Environmental changes such as the construction of new roads may play a significant role in dengue transmission,” she said. “If practicing in rural yet rapidly urbanizing environments in the developing world, clinicians should be aware of the possibility of an increase in the number of cases of dengue fever.”
Connors R. #119.
Presented at: ASTMH 57th Annual Meeting; Dec. 7-11, 2008; New Orleans.