The four serotypes of dengue virus (DENV) cause 100 million cases of dengue fever (DF) per year.
In about 500,000 cases, DENV infection causes a severe disease known as Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF), resulting in 20,000 deaths annually.
It has been observed that 10% of the cases of DHF affect children during the primary infections. Since the 1980s, cases of DHF have spread from Southeast Asia to other Regions. In Northeast Argentina 25,000 cases of dengue were reported in 2009, and the infection rates in our research sites in Northern Argentina have increased.
An important consequence of this problem is that, unlike the situation in Southeast Asia , where approximately 99%of women at reproductive age are immune to dengue virus and transfer protective antibodies to infants through placenta, in our country, susceptible fetuses and infants experience primary dengue infection in the absence of maternal antibodies that modulate the disease.
This unusual situation, where the virus is moving into new regions, is associated with rare and severe clinical presentations in neonates and infants.
At these sites, pediatricians have no evidence-based guidelines for taking critical medical decisions. Due to this situation, INFANT launched an investigation in the city of Oran (Salta province), in the Hospital SanVicente de Paul, to study this disease in young infants, as it is expected an increase of dengue in the coming years, whereby the data obtained from this research could be critical for the control and management of dengue in younger children.
This project could then be extended to the city of Puerto Iguazu (Misiones), where dengue is also a major public health problem.
- To discover the mechanisms of severe dengue disease (DHF in particular) in infants.
- To define clinical aspects of dengue infections in infants and children under one year .
- To develop practical guidelines for health personnel to assist in the management of infected patients under one year old.
Long Term Benefits and Community impact
This project has a great impact on the scientific community and works with the task being made by local authorities and hospital personnel.
Both the community, as well as the hospital and health centers (especially health workers, doctors, health workers,city staff responsible for the fight against dengue, etc) will benefit with the development of this initiative.
The local hospital will receive:
- Development and strengthening of the Febrile Clinic. .
- Human and technical resources for the Laboratory of Tropical Diseases .
- Training in research.
Meanwhile peripheral health centers will:
- Strengthen the network of prevention in primary care.
- Outreach and communication activities.
- Training for Health Care Workers
For its part, the municipality and parents participating in the study will have access to:
- Training, integration and participation in workshops for parents and community.
- Monitoring febrile infant.
- Guidelines for care of dengue in infants
- Support in the dengue prevention initiative with the municipality