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The control groups in two phase 3 trials of dengue vaccine efficacy included two large regional cohorts that were followed up for dengue infection. These cohorts provided a sample for epidemiologic analyses of symptomatic dengue in children across 10 countries in Southeast Asia and Latin America in which dengue is endemic.
We monitored acute febrile illness and virologically confirmed dengue (VCD) in 3424 healthy children, 2 to 16 years of age, in Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam) from June 2011 through December 2013 and in 6939 children, 9 to 18 years of age, in Latin America (Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, Mexico, and Puerto Rico) from June 2011 through April 2014. Acute febrile episodes were determined to be VCD by means of a nonstructural protein 1 antigen immunoassay and reverse-transcriptase–polymerase-chain-reaction assays. Dengue hemorrhagic fever was defined according to 1997 World Health Organization criteria.
Approximately 10% of the febrile episodes in each cohort were confirmed to be VCD, with 319 VCD episodes (4.6 episodes per 100 person-years) occurring in the Asian cohort and 389 VCD episodes (2.9 episodes per 100 person-years) occurring in the Latin American cohort; no trend according to age group was observed. The incidence of dengue hemorrhagic fever was less than 0.3 episodes per 100 person-years in each cohort. The percentage of VCD episodes requiring hospitalization was 19.1% in the Asian cohort and 11.1% in the Latin American cohort. In comparable age groups (9 to 12 years and 13 to 16 years), the burden of dengue was higher in Asia than in Latin America.
The burdens of dengue were substantial in the two regions and in all age groups. Burdens varied widely according to country, but the rates were generally higher and the disease more frequently severe in Asian countries than in Latin American countries.