Introduction: Although dengue and its acute manifestations have been broadly described in the literature, the symptoms during the convalescence phase have so far been little studied.
Objective: To describe the clinical manifestations of a population during the convalescence phase from a dengue episode.
Materials and methods: We conducted an observational study in individuals that were in the hospital after being serologically diagnosed with dengue. After being discharged from the hospital, they were visited in order to verify the persistence of clinical symptoms, fatigue (assessed using the Chalder's Fatigue Questionnaire) and quality of life (assessed with the EuroQoL-5D questionnaire). Significant fatigue was defined with a score equal to or greater than four in the corresponding scale. Participants with positive [+] fatigue signs were supervised by phone and/or by visiting them in their places of residence until the symptoms disappeared, with a maximum follow-up term of three months.
Results: We included 32 individuals in the study (average age: 35 years old, 59% women) and a fatigue prevalence of 34.4% was observed (CI 95% 17.0-51.8). Sociodemographic differences were not defined as determinants with regard to fatigue; by contrast, we found a greater frequency of physical tiredness (100% vs 47.6%; p-0.005) and mental tiredness (54.6% vs 9.5%; p=0.010). Even though patients with fatigue had a poor quality of life, this sign was not statistically different from the group not reporting fatigue when we adjusted by age and sex (OR=5.5; CI 95% 0.83-36.5). In addition, fatigue scores dropped half point in average every 10 days of follow-up.
Conclusions: Our results demonstrated that the burden of disease in dengue has not been entirely described, as clinical signs are still present during the convalescence phase, and this represents an obstacle for the normal recovery of individuals.
Keywords: Dengue; cost of illness; fatigue; quality of life; signs and symptoms.