Surveillance and Epidemiology of Dengue in Medellín, Colombia from 2009 to 2017

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  • 1 Programa de Estudio y Control de Enfermedades Tropicales (PECET), Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia;
  • 2 Sustainable Sciences Institute (SSI), San Francisco, California

Dengue is the most prevalent arthropod-borne viral disease in humans, primarily transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. We conducted a descriptive analysis of dengue cases from 2009 to 2017 in Medellín, Colombia, using data available from the Secretariat of Health. We analyzed the burden of outbreak years on the healthcare system, risk of cases exhibiting severe illness, potential disease surveillance problems, gender and age as risk factors, and spatiotemporal patterns of disease occurrence. Our data consisted of 50,083 cases, separated based on whether they were diagnostic test negative, diagnostic test positive (primarily IgM ELISA), clinically confirmed, epidemiologically linked, or probable. We used dengue incidence to analyze epidemiological trends between our study years, related to human movement patterns, between gender and age-groups, and spatiotemporally. We used risk to analyze the severity of dengue cases between the study years. We identified human movement could contributed to dengue spread, and male individuals (incidence rate: 0.86; 95% CI: 0.76–0.96) and individuals younger than 15 years (incidence rate: 1.24; 95% CI: 1.13–1.34) have higher incidence of dengue and located critical parts of the city where dengue incidence was high. Analysis was limited by participant diagnostic information, data concerning circulating strains, and a lack of phylogenetic information. Understanding the characteristics of dengue is a fundamental part of improving the health outcomes of at-risk populations. This analysis will be useful to support studies and initiatives to counteract dengue and provide context to the surveillance data collected by the health authorities in Medellín.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Iván Darío Vélez, Programa de Estudio y Control de Enfermedades Tropicales (PECET)-SIU, Calle 62 N 52-59, Medellin, Colombia. E-mail:

Authors’ addresses: Colin M. Warnes, Eduardo Santacruz Sanmartín, and Iván Darío Vélez, PECET, School of Medicine, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellin, Colombia, E-mails:,, and Fausto Bustos Carrillo, Department of Epidemiology, Sustainable Sciences Institute (SSI), San Francisco, CA, E-mail: