Dengue in Greece in 1927 and 1928 and the Pathogenesis of Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever: New Data and a Different Conclusion

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  • Arbovirus Program, Pacific Biomedical Research Center, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822

A massive outbreak of dengue, with a high incidence of hemorrhagic manifestations and a high death rate, occurred in Athens and neighboring areas of Greece in 1927 and 1928. For many years it was believed that the episode had been caused by dengue type 1 virus. Recently, it was claimed that dengue type 2 virus also was present in Athens in 1928, and this report is cited in support of the hypotheses that dengue hemorrhagic fever is almost always the result of sequential infection with different dengue serotypes and that infection with dengue type 2 following dengue type 1 is particularly pathogenic. In the present study of 258 Greek residents born from 1914 to 1938, it was also found that dengue type 2 had occurred in Greece — but after 1928. No evidence was found that that virus had occurred in the country during, or within 13 years before, the 1927–1928 epidemic.