BOSTON — Children who visit friends and relatives in dengue-endemic areas such as the Caribbean are at increased risk for contracting the disease due to frequent and/or prolonged visits, highlighting the need for health education before travel for these families, according to a presentation here at the 2012 Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting.
Nivedita Krishnan, MD, of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at the Bronx Center for Travel and International Health at the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center in New York, and colleagues studied the travel, clinical and laboratory characteristics of eight children who contracted acute dengue fever after traveling to visit friends or relatives in either the Dominican Republic (88%) or Puerto Rico (12%) for a median of 32 days. The researchers reported that three children presented with severe dengue infection; two children experienced dengue hemorrhagic fever and one experienced dengue shock syndrome. All children presented with symptoms between 1 and 11 days after return, with 6 days being the median.
The researchers said the disease was characterized by acute febrile illness “accompanied by gastrointestinal complaints (63%), myalgia (50%), petechial rash (38%), dehydration (25%) and headache (13%).” In addition, laboratory tests indicated leukopenia or thrombocytopenia in more than 60% of the patients.
Given the seriousness of these symptoms, Krishnan and colleagues said: “Travelers with frequent and prolonged travel to dengue-endemic regions may adopt a risk profile for dengue morbidity that is similar to that of children residing in endemic countries. Children of immigrant families originally from dengue-endemic regions may benefit from competent pre-travel advice, and represent candidates for a future dengue vaccine.”
For more information:
- Krishnan J. #1516.284. Presented at: the 2012 PAS Annual Meeting; April 28-May 1, 2012; Boston.
Disclosure: Dr. Krishnan reports no relevant financial disclosures.