The Burden of Dengue Fever and Chikungunya in Southern Coastal Ecuador: Epidemiology, Clinical Presentation, and Phylogenetics from the First Two Years of a Prospective Study

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2018 May;98(5):1444-1459. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.17-0762. Epub 2018 Mar 1.


Here, we report the findings from the first 2 years (2014-2015) of an arbovirus surveillance study conducted in Machala, Ecuador, a dengue-endemic region. Patients with suspected dengue virus (DENV) infections (index cases, N = 324) were referred from five Ministry of Health clinical sites. A subset of DENV-positive index cases (N = 44) were selected, and individuals from the index household and four neighboring homes within 200 m were recruited (N = 400). Individuals who entered the study, other than the index cases, are referred to as associates. In 2014, 70.9% of index cases and 35.6% of associates had acute or recent DENV infections. In 2015, 28.3% of index cases and 12.8% of associates had acute or recent DENV infections. For every DENV infection captured by passive surveillance, we detected an additional three acute or recent DENV infections in associates. Of associates with acute DENV infections, 68% reported dengue-like symptoms, with the highest prevalence of symptomatic acute infections in children aged less than 10 years. The first chikungunya virus (CHIKV) infections were detected on epidemiological week 12 in 2015; 43.1% of index cases and 3.5% of associates had acute CHIKV infections. No Zika virus infections were detected. Phylogenetic analyses of isolates of DENV from 2014 revealed genetic relatedness and shared ancestry of DENV1, DENV2, and DENV4 genomes from Ecuador with those from Venezuela and Colombia, indicating the presence of viral flow between Ecuador and surrounding countries. Enhanced surveillance studies, such as this, provide high-resolution data on symptomatic and inapparent infections across the population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chikungunya Fever / epidemiology*
  • Chikungunya Fever / virology*
  • Chikungunya virus / genetics
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dengue / epidemiology*
  • Dengue / virology*
  • Dengue Virus / genetics
  • Ecuador / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phylogeny
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence
  • Young Adult