Background: Dengue is the most important mosquito borne viral infection in the world. Nearly 90% of infections occur in children. At present, prospective information on clinical and laboratory findings in South Asian children with dengue is generally lacking.
Aim: To describe patterns of clinical disease in a cohort of children hospitalised with dengue during a major dengue epidemic in Sri Lanka.
Results: A total of 104 children were studied during a three month period. Eighteen had dengue fever (DF) and 86 had dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF). Of those with DHF, 34, 23, 27, and 2 had DHF grade I, II, III, and IV respectively. Based on dengue serology testing, 13 of the DF patients had a primary infection and 5 had secondary dengue infections. In contrast, 68 of the children with DHF had secondary and 18 had primary dengue infections. Oral candidiasis was seen in 19 children. The odds ratio for children with secondary dengue infection to develop DHF was 9.8 (95% CI 3.1 to 31.2).
Conclusion: Studies on patterns of paediatric dengue disease in different regions should help clinicians and health administrators make more informed and evidence based health planning decisions. It should also help towards mapping out dengue trends on a global scale. Oral candidiasis has not been previously documented in children suffering with acute dengue in Sri Lanka or elsewhere. Studying underlying reasons for this manifestation during future dengue epidemics may provide useful leads in understanding overall dengue pathogenesis.
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Published Online First 3 February 2006
Competing interests: none declared
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