Volume 102, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Diagnosing dengue in endemic areas remains problematic because of the low specificity of the symptoms and lack of accurate diagnostic tests. This study aimed to develop and prospectively validate, under routine care, dengue diagnostic clinical algorithms. The study was carried out in two phases. First, diagnostic algorithms were developed using a database of 1,130 dengue and 918 non-dengue patients, expert opinion, and literature review. Algorithms with > 70% sensitivity were prospectively validated in a single-group quasi-experimental trial with an adaptive Bayesian design. In the first phase, the algorithms that were developed with the continuous Bayes formula and included leukocytes and platelet counts, in addition to selected signs and symptoms, showed the highest sensitivities (> 80%). In the second phase, the algorithms were applied on admission to 1,039 consecutive febrile subjects in three endemic areas in Colombia of whom 25 were laboratory-confirmed dengue, 307 non-dengue, 514 probable dengue, and 193 undetermined. Including parameters of the hemogram consistently improved specificity without affecting sensitivity. In the final analysis, considering only confirmed dengue and non-dengue cases, an algorithm with a sensitivity and specificity of 65.4% (95% credibility interval 50–83) and 40.1% (34.7–45.7) was identified. All tested algorithms had likelihood ratios close to 1, and hence, they are not useful to confirm or rule out dengue in endemic areas. The findings support the use of hemograms to aid dengue diagnosis and highlight the challenges of clinical diagnosis of dengue.


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  • Received : 30 Sep 2019
  • Accepted : 05 Feb 2020
  • Published online : 27 Apr 2020
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