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Characteristic of Dengue Disease in Taiwan: 2002–2007

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  • 1 Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan; Centers for Disease Control, Department of Health, Taiwan; Department of Microbiology and Immunology; Department of Medical Laboratory Science and Biotechnology; Department of Pediatrics, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan

Taiwan's dengue outbreaks have a unique type of transmission: starting by import from abroad in early summer, spreading out locally, and ending in the winter. This pattern repeats every year. Most of the dengue patients are adults, with dengue fever peaking in the 50–54 year age range, and dengue hemorrhagic fever in the 60–64 year age range. Two patterns of dengue infection were found: DENV-2 in 2002 with 74% of secondary infection in contrast to non-DENV-2 (DENV-1 or DENV-3) in 2004–2007 with ~70% of primary infection. Secondary dengue virus infection increases disease morbidity, but not mortality in adults. The active serological surveillance shows two-thirds of the dengue-infected adults are symptomatic post infection. The Taiwanese experience of adult dengue should be valuable for countries or areas where, although dengue is not endemic, the Aedes aegypti vector exists and dengue virus can be introduced by travelers.

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to Huan-Yao Lei, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan, Republic of China. E-mail: hylei@mail.ncku.edu.tw

Financial support: This work is supported by grant NHRI-98A1-PDCO-0209111 from the National Health Research Institute and grant NSC97-2745-B404-001 from National Science Council, Taiwan, Republic of China.

Authors' addresses: Chien-Chou Lin, Yh-Hsiung Huang, Pei-Yun Shu, and Ho-Sheng Wu, Centers for Disease Control, Department of Health, Taiwan, E-mails: jjlin@cdc.gov.tw, jhhuang@cdc.gov.tw, and pyshu@cdc.gov.tw. Yee-Shin Lin, Hsiao-Sheng Liu, and Huan-Yao Lei, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, E-mails: yslin1@mail.ncku.edu.tw, a713@mail.ncku.edu.tw, and hylei@mail.ncku.edu.tw. Trai-Ming Yeh, Department of Medical Laboratory Science and Biotechnology, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, E-mail: today@mail.ncku.edu.tw. Ching-Chuan Liu, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, E-mail: liucc@mail.ncku.edu.tw.

Reprint requests: Huan-Yao Lei, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan, Republic of China, Tel: 886-6-2353535 Ext. 5643, Fax: 886-6-2097825, E-mail: hylei@mail.ncku.edu.tw.

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