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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1020-4989

Abstract

ITURRINO-MONGE, Roberto et al. Seroprevalence of dengue virus antibodies in asymptomatic Costa Rican children, 2002-2003: a pilot study. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2006, vol.20, n.1, pp. 39-43. ISSN 1020-4989.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892006000700005.

OBJECTIVES: Since 1993 dengue has become more frequent in Costa Rica. Adults have been the most affected population, while children have remained virtually unharmed. So far no studies have investigated how many asymptomatic children have been affected by this virus. This pilot study documents the seroprevalence, measured as the presence of IgG antibodies, of dengue virus in asymptomatic children from two different geographical areas. METHODS: This descriptive, prospective epidemiologic study compared the presence of antibodies in children who live in a coastal region of a tropical country where dengue is endemic, and an inland area where dengue is not endemic. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to test the serum for dengue virus IgG antibodies. None of the children had a prior history of dengue, fever, immunosuppressive therapy or underlying disease. RESULTS: During the period from July 2002 to July 2003, 103 children were recruited from each area. In the costal region we found a seroprevalence of 36.9%. In the inland area seroprevalence was 2.9% CONCLUSIONS: We found a substantial number of asymptomatic infections in Costa Rican children. This greatly increases the risk of dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome in these children, in whom previous dengue infection had gone undetected. Preventive efforts should be targeted at the costal region due to the higher prevalence in this area.

Keywords : Children; dengue; hemorrhagic fever; Costa Rica.

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