Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever in Cuba, 1981: A Retrospective Seroepidemiologic Study

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  • Instituto de Medicina Tropical “Pedro Kouri,”, Habana, Cuba
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In Cuba, 2 epidemics of dengue virus occurred: 1 caused by DEN-1 in 1977 and 1 caused by DEN-2 in 1981. The latter was associated with cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever/dengue shock syndrome (DHF/DSS). To study viral risk factors for DHF/DSS, a retrospective seroepidemiological survey was conducted in Cerro, a densely populated district in Havana City. The prevalence of plaque reduction neutralizing antibodies to DEN-1 and DEN-2 viruses was measured in 1,295 individuals (children and adults). Of these, 43.7% were immune to DEN-1 virus and 23.6% to DEN-2 virus. Of those individuals who were immune, 26.1% were immune to DEN-1 virus only, 6% to DEN-2 virus only, and 17.6% to both viruses. The DEN-2 virus infection rate in DEN-1 immune individuals was 3.8 times higher than in non-immune individuals. The 5 DHF/DSS cases in the sample had evidence of DEN-1 virus plus DEN-2 virus infections. Three were children and 2 were young adults. No cases were found in individuals infected with DEN-1 virus or DEN-2 virus only. Children infected by DEN-1 virus followed by DEN-2 virus had a high risk of acquiring DHF/DSS. Blacks and whites were equally infected with DEN-1 and DEN-2 viruses.