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22-06-2010 | Infectious disease | Article

Diabetes a risk factor for dengue hemorrhagic fever


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MedWire News: Presence of diabetes, hypertension, and allergies treated with steroids increase the risk for dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), show results from a case-control study.

White ethnicity, high income, and high education also increased the risk for developing DHF, report the researchers.

“Dengue is the most important viral vector-transmitted disease worldwide in terms of the total number of cases, disease morbidity, and mortality,” explain Maria Glória Teixeira (Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Brazil) and colleagues.

DHF is a severe form of dengue fever. It is not currently clear why some cases progress to DHF and some do not, and the authors emphasize that “understanding this process is essential for preventing it.”

They therefore carried out a matched case-control study including 170 cases of DHF and 1175 age- and gender-matched controls (7 per case) who were who reported having dengue fever in the same year as their matched case.

The team reports that the presence of diabetes and allergy treated with steroids increased the risk for DHF 2.75- and 2.94-fold, respectively. Black individuals who were being treated for hypertension had a 13-fold increased risk for DHF compared with Black participants with no hypertension.

Other factors that were also significantly associated with DHF were White ethnicity, high income, and high education, which increased the risk 4.70-, 6.84-, 4.67-fold, respectively.

“Given the high case fatality rate of DHF (1–5%), we believe that the evidence produced in this study, when confirmed in other studies, suggests that screening criteria might be used to identify adult patients at a greater risk of developing DHF with a recommendation that they remain under observation and monitoring in hospital,” write the authors in the journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

“Finally, cross immunologic pathophysiologic studies based on the associations between diabetes, allergy and high socioeconomic status and DHF, are urgently needed to investigate the intricate mechanism controlling severe forms of dengue,” they add.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Helen Albert

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