Lessons learned during dengue outbreaks in the United States, 2001-2011

Emerg Infect Dis. 2012 Apr;18(4):608-14. doi: 10.3201/eid1804.110968.


Since 2001, three autochthonous dengue fever outbreaks have occurred in the United States: in Hawaii (2001); Brownsville, Texas (2005); and southern Florida (2009-2011). We sought to characterize and describe the response to these outbreaks from the perspectives of public health and vector control officials. By conducting a medical literature review through PubMed and news media searches through Google, we identified persons involved in managing each outbreak; 26 persons then participated in qualitative, semistructured interviews. After analyzing the 3 outbreaks, we found the following prominent themes in the response efforts: timely detection of illness; communication of up-to-date, correct information; and development of a rapid response that engages the community. We therefore recommend that public health authorities involve the clinical and laboratory community promptly, provide accurate information, and engage the local community in vector control and case identification and reporting.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Dengue / epidemiology*
  • Dengue / prevention & control
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology