Epidemiology and Control of Dengue Virus Infections in Thai Villages in 1987

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  • Ministry of Public Health, Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Bangkok, Thailand
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A severe epidemic of dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand in August of 1987 prompted a field investigation. DHF rates of 0.4–6.5 cases per 1,000 residents in subdistricts and 2–15 cases per 1,000 residents in 10 villages investigated were reported. Epidemics peaked in neighboring villages at different times; in June and July, and in August before the rainy season began late in the month. In 4 primary schools representing 6 villages, sera from groups of randomly selected children were tested for dengue IgM with the antibody capture ELISA test. Rates of recent dengue infection were 10–65% in the schools and correlated closely with reported rates of DHF. In an effort to control vectors, malathion fog and temephos (1% abate sand granules) were applied. Villagers were educated in prevention and were urged to cover water receptacles. The percentage of houses with larvae dropped from 67 to 20, the percentage of containers with larvae decreased from 30 to 5, and the number of containers with larvae per 100 households decreased from 221 to 33. This was a serious epidemic in which conventional control measures were only moderately effective.