The impact of the demographic transition on dengue in Thailand: insights from a statistical analysis and mathematical modeling.
ABSTRACT: An increase in the average age of dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) cases has been reported in Thailand. The cause of this increase is not known. Possible explanations include a reduction in transmission due to declining mosquito populations, declining contact between human and mosquito, and changes in reporting. We propose that a demographic shift toward lower birth and death rates has reduced dengue transmission and lengthened the interval between large epidemics.Using data from each of the 72 provinces of Thailand, we looked for associations between force of infection (a measure of hazard, defined as the rate per capita at which susceptible individuals become infected) and demographic and climactic variables. We estimated the force of infection from the age distribution of cases from 1985 to 2005. We find that the force of infection has declined by 2% each year since a peak in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Contrary to recent findings suggesting that the incidence of DHF has increased in Thailand, we find a small but statistically significant decline in DHF incidence since 1985 in a majority of provinces. The strongest predictor of the change in force of infection and the mean force of infection is the median age of the population. Using mathematical simulations of dengue transmission we show that a reduced birth rate and a shift in the population's age structure can explain the shift in the age distribution of cases, reduction of the force of infection, and increase in the periodicity of multiannual oscillations of DHF incidence in the absence of other changes.Lower birth and death rates decrease the flow of susceptible individuals into the population and increase the longevity of immune individuals. The increase in the proportion of the population that is immune increases the likelihood that an infectious mosquito will feed on an immune individual, reducing the force of infection. Though the force of infection has decreased by half, we find that the critical vaccination fraction has not changed significantly, declining from an average of 85% to 80%. Clinical guidelines should consider the impact of continued increases in the age of dengue cases in Thailand. Countries in the region lagging behind Thailand in the demographic transition may experience the same increase as their population ages. The impact of demographic changes on the force of infection has been hypothesized for other diseases, but, to our knowledge, this is the first observation of this phenomenon. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
Project description:Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) is a potentially fatal manifestation of an infection with the mosquito-borne dengue virus. Because of the social and economic costs of DHF, many countries in Asia and South America have initiated public health measures aimed at vector control. Despite these measures, DHF incidence rates do not appear to be declining. The effectiveness of vector control in reducing dengue transmissibility has thereby been questioned. Here, we revisit this conclusion using epidemiological data from Thailand. We first show, with age incidence data, that dengue transmission rates have fallen since 1981; surprisingly, however, these declines are not associated with decreases in DHF incidence. Instead, district-level analyses indicate a nonmonotonic relationship between the basic reproductive number R0 and DHF incidence. To understand this relationship, we formulated three mathematical models, which differ in their assumptions of transient between-serotype cross-protection. Unlike the first two models, the previously unconsidered third model with clinical cross-protection can reproduce this nonmonotonic relationship. Simulation of this model with nonstationary R0 reproduces several previously unexplained patterns of dengue dynamics, including a transition from a approximately 2-year cycle to a approximately 4-year cycle and a transient trough in DHF incidence in provinces with rapid R0 declines. These results imply that DHF incidence can be effectively controlled with a sufficiently large reduction in R0 but that moderate reductions may be counterproductive. More broadly, these results show that assuming parameter stationarity in systems with approximate stationarity in disease incidence is unjustified and may result in missed opportunities to understand the drivers of disease variability.
Project description:SUMMARY: Infection with dengue, the most prevalent mosquito-borne virus, manifests as dengue fever (DF) or the more fatal dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF). DHF occurs mainly when an individual who has acquired antibodies to one serotype is inoculated with another serotype. It was reported that mosquito control may have increased the incidence of DF and DHF due to age-dependency in manifesting these illnesses or an immunological mechanism. Tetravalent dengue vaccine is currently being tested in clinical trials. However, seroconversions to all four serotypes were achieved only after three doses. Therefore, vaccines may predispose vaccinees to the risk of developing DHF in future infections. This study employed an individual-based computer simulation, to emulate mosquito control and vaccination, incorporating seroconversion rates reported from actual clinical trials. It was found that mosquito control alone would have increased incidence of DF and DHF in areas of high mosquito density. A vaccination programme with very high coverage, even with a vaccine of suboptimal seroconversion rates, attenuated possible surges in the incidence of DF and DHF which would have been caused by insufficient reduction in mosquito abundance. DHF cases attributable to vaccine-derived enhancement were fewer than DHF cases prevented by a vaccine with considerably high (although not perfect) seroconversion rates. These predictions may justify vaccination programmes, at least in areas of high mosquito abundance. In such areas, mosquito control programmes should be conducted only after the vaccination programme with a high coverage has been initiated.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Dengue is the most prevalent mosquito-borne virus, and potentially fatal dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) occurs mainly in secondary infections. It recently was hypothesized that, due to the presence of cross-immunity, the relationship between the incidence of DHF and transmission intensity may be negative at areas of intense transmission. We tested this hypothesis empirically, using vector abundance as a surrogate of transmission intensity. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: House Index (HI), which is defined as the percentage of households infested with vector larvae/pupae, was obtained from surveys conducted on one million houses in Thailand, between 2002 and 2004. First, the utility of HI as a surrogate of transmission intensity was confirmed because HI was correlated negatively with mean age of DHF in the population. Next, the relationship between DHF incidence and HI was investigated. DHF incidence increased only up to an HI of about 30, but declined thereafter. Reduction of HI from the currently maximal level to 30 would increase the incidence by more than 40%. Simulations, which implemented a recently proposed model for cross-immunity, generated results that resembled actual epidemiological data. It was predicted that cross-immunity generates a wide variation in incidence, thereby obscuring the relationship between incidence and transmission intensity. The relationship would become obvious only if data collected over a long duration (e.g., >10 years) was averaged. CONCLUSION: The negative relationship between DHF incidence and dengue transmission intensity implies that in regions of intense transmission, insufficient reduction of vector abundance may increase long-term DHF incidence. Further studies of a duration much longer than the present study, are warranted.
Project description:Long-term observational studies can provide valuable insights into overall dengue epidemiology. Here, we present analysis of dengue cases at a pediatric hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, during a 40-year period from 1973 to 2012. Data were analyzed from 25,715 hospitalized patients with laboratory-confirmed dengue virus (DENV) infection. Several long-term trends in dengue disease were identified including an increase in mean age of hospitalized cases from an average of 7-8 years, an increase after 1990 in the proportion of post-primary cases for DENV-1 and DENV-3, and a decrease in the proportion of dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome cases in primary and post-primary cases over time. Exploratory mechanistic analysis of these observed trends considered changes in diagnostic methods, demography, force of infection, and Japanese encephalitis vaccination as possible explanations. Thailand is an important setting for studying DENV transmission as it has a "mature" dengue epidemiology with a strong surveillance system in place since the early 1970s. We characterized changes in dengue epidemiology over four decades, and possible impact of demographic and other changes in the human population. These results may inform other countries where similar changes in transmission and population demographics may now or may soon be occurring.
Project description:Dengue virus infection causes a spectrum of clinical manifestations, usually classified according to the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines into dengue fever (DF) and dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). The ability of these guidelines to categorize severe dengue illness has recently been questioned.We evaluated dengue case definitions in a prospective study at a pediatric hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, during 1994-2005. One thousand thirteen children were enrolled within the first 3 days after onset of fever and observed with standardized data collection. Cases were classified on the basis of application of the strict WHO criteria. All dengue virus infections were laboratory confirmed. We retrospectively grouped patients on the basis of whether they received significant intervention based on fluid replacement and/or requirements for blood transfusion.Eighty-five (58%) of 150 persons with DHF, 40 (15%) of 264 with DF, and 73 (12%) of 599 with other febrile illnesses (OFIs) received significant intervention. Sixty-eight percent of dengue cases requiring intervention met strict WHO criteria for DHF. In contrast, only 1% of OFI cases met WHO criteria for DHF. Plasma leakage and thrombocytopenia were the 2 components contributing to the specificity of the WHO case definition and identified dengue cases that required intervention. Hemorrhagic tendency did not reliably differentiate DF and DHF. In DF cases, thrombocytopenia and bleeding were associated with severity.Dengue illness is heterogeneous in severity, and severe clinical features occurred in patients whose cases were not characterized as DHF. The WHO case definition of DHF demonstrated sensitivity of 62% and specificity of 92% for identification of dengue illness requiring intervention, without the need for laboratory confirmation of dengue virus infection, in an area of endemicity.
Project description:Dengue infections are increasing at an alarming rate in many tropical and subtropical countries, where epidemics can put health care systems under extreme pressure. The more severe infections lead to dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), which can be life threatening. A variety of viral and host factors have been associated with the severity of dengue infections. Because secondary dengue infection is more commonly associated with DHF than primary infections, the acquired immune response to dengue, both B cells and T cells have been implicated. In this study, we set out to study T-cell responses across the entire dengue virus proteome and to see whether these were related to disease severity in a cohort of dengue-infected children from Thailand. Robust responses were observed in most infected individuals against most viral proteins. Responses to NS3 were the most frequent, and there was a very strong association between the magnitude of the response and disease severity. Furthermore, in DHF, cytokine-high CD107a-negative cells predominated.
Project description:Dengue virus has traditionally caused substantial morbidity and mortality among children less than 15 years of age in Southeast Asia. Over the last 2 decades, a significant increase in the mean age of cases has been reported, and a once pediatric disease now causes substantial burden among the adult population. An age-stratified serological study (n = 1,736) was conducted in 2010 among schoolchildren in the Mueang Rayong district of Thailand, where a similar study had been conducted in 1980/1981. Serotype-specific forces of infection (?(t)) and basic reproductive numbers (R0) of dengue were estimated for the periods 1969-1980 and 1993-2010. Despite a significant increase in the age at exposure and a decrease in ?(t) from 0.038/year to 0.019/year, R0 changed only from 3.3 to 3.2. Significant heterogeneity was observed across subdistricts and schools, with R0 ranging between 1.7 and 6.8. These findings are consistent with the idea that the observed age shift might be a consequence of the demographic transition in Thailand. Changes in critical vaccination fractions, estimated by using R0, have not accompanied the increase in age at exposure. These results have implications for dengue control interventions because multiple countries in Southeast Asia are undergoing similar demographic transitions. It is likely that dengue will never again be a disease exclusively of children.
Project description:The four dengue virus serotypes (DENV1-4) are responsible for the most prevalent mosquito-borne viral illness in humans. DENV causes a spectrum of disease from self-limiting dengue fever (DF) to severe, life-threatening dengue hemorrhagic fever/dengue shock syndrome (DHF/DSS). Antibodies from one infection can contribute to either protection or increased disease severity in a subsequent infection with a distinct DENV serotype. The effectiveness of the antibody response is modulated by both the affinity and avidity of the antibody/antigen interaction.We investigated how antibody avidity developed over time following secondary DENV2 infection across different disease severities.We analyzed sera from 42 secondary DENV2-infected subjects (DF, n=15; DHF, n=16; DSS, n=11) from a pediatric hospital-based dengue study in Nicaragua. IgG avidity against DENV2 virions was measured in samples collected during acute and convalescent phases as well as 3, 6, and 18 months post-illness using a urea enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.The data show a significant increase in avidity from acute to convalescent phase followed by a decrease from convalescent phase to 3 months post-symptom onset, then a plateau. Linear regression analysis comparing antibody avidity between disease severity groups over time indicate that individuals with more severe disease (DHF/DSS) experienced greater decay in antibody avidity over time compared to less severe disease (DF), and ROC curve analysis showed that at 18 months post-illness, lower avidity was associated with previously having experienced more severe disease.These data suggest that increased dengue disease severity is associated with lower antibody avidity at later time-points post-illness.
Project description:Dengue infection is one of the most important mosquito-borne diseases. More data regarding the disease burden and the prevalence of each clinical spectrum among symptomatic infections and the clinical manifestations are needed. This study aims to describe the incidence and clinical manifestations of symptomatic dengue infection in Thai children during 2006 through 2008.This study is a school-based prospective open cohort study with a 9,448 person-year follow-up in children aged 3-14 years. Active surveillance for febrile illnesses was done in the studied subjects. Subjects who had febrile illness were asked to visit the study hospital for clinical and laboratory evaluation, treatment, and serological tests for dengue infection. The clinical data from medical records, diary cards, and data collection forms were collected and analyzed.Dengue infections were the causes of 12.1% of febrile illnesses attending the hospital, including undifferentiated fever (UF) (49.8%), dengue fever (DF) (39.3%) and dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) (10.9%). Headache, anorexia, nausea/vomiting and myalgia were common symptoms occurring in more than half of the patients. The more severe dengue spectrum (i.e., DHF) had higher temperature, higher prevalence of nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain, rash, diarrhea, petechiae, hepatomegaly and lower platelet count. DHF cases also had significantly higher prevalence of anorexia, nausea/vomiting and abdominal pain during day 3-6 and diarrhea during day 4-6 of illness. The absence of nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, petechiae, hepatomegaly and positive tourniquet test may predict non-DHF.Among symptomatic dengue infection, UF is most common followed by DF and DHF. Some clinical manifestations may be useful to predict the more severe disease (i.e., DHF). This study presents additional information in the clinical spectra of symptomatic dengue infection.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) is a severe form of dengue, characterized by bleeding and plasma leakage. A number of DHF risk factors had been suggested. However, these risk factors may not be generalized to all populations and epidemics for screening and clinical management of patients at risk of developing DHF. This study explored demographic and comorbidity risk factors for DHF in adult dengue epidemics in Singapore in year 2006 (predominantly serotype 1) and in year 2007-2008 (predominantly serotype 2). METHODS: A retrospective case-control study was conducted with 149 DHF and 326 dengue fever (DF) patients from year 2006, and 669 DHF and 1,141 DF patients from year 2007-2008. Demographic and reported comorbidity data were collected from patients previously. We performed multivariate logistic regression to assess the association between DHF and demographic and co-morbidities for year 2006 and year 2007-2008, respectively. RESULTS: Only Chinese (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]?=?1.90; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.01-3.56) was independently associated with DHF in year 2006. In contrast, age groups of 30-39 years (AOR?=?1.41; 95% CI:1.09-1.81), 40-49 years (AOR?=?1.34; 95% CI:1.09-1.81), female (AOR?=?1.57; 95% CI:1.28-1.94), Chinese (AOR?=?1.67; 95% CI:1.24-2.24), diabetes (AOR?=?1.78; 95% CI:1.06-2.97), and diabetes with hypertension (AOR?=?2.16; 95%CI:1.18-3.96) were independently associated with DHF in year 2007-2008. Hypertension was proposed to have effect modification on the risk of DHF outcome in dengue patients with diabetes. Chinese who had diabetes with hypertension had 2.1 (95% CI:1.07-4.12) times higher risk of DHF compared with Chinese who had no diabetes and no hypertension. CONCLUSIONS: Adult dengue patients in Singapore who were 30-49 years, Chinese, female, had diabetes or diabetes with hypertension were at greater risk of developing DHF during epidemic of predominantly serotype 2. These risk factors can be used to guide triaging of patients who require closer clinical monitoring and early hospitalization in Singapore, when confirmed in more studies.