A multi-country study of the economic burden of dengue fever based on patient-specific field surveys in Burkina Faso, Kenya, and Cambodia

PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2019 Feb 28;13(2):e0007164. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0007164. eCollection 2019 Feb.


Background: Dengue fever is a rapidly growing public health problem in many parts of the tropics and sub-tropics in the world. While there are existing studies on the economic burden of dengue fever in some of dengue-endemic countries, cost components are often not standardized, making cross-country comparisons challenging. Furthermore, no such studies have been available in Africa.

Methods/principal findings: A patient-specific survey questionnaire was developed and applied in Burkina Faso, Kenya, and Cambodia in a standardized format. Multiple interviews were carried out in order to capture the entire cost incurred during the period of dengue illness. Both private (patient's out-of-pocket) and public (non-private) expenditure were accessed to understand how the economic burden of dengue is distributed between private and non-private payers. A substantial number of dengue-confirmed patients were identified in all three countries: 414 in Burkina Faso, 149 in Kenya, and 254 in Cambodia. The average cost of illness for dengue fever was $26 (95% CI $23-$29) and $134 (95% CI $119-$152) per inpatient in Burkina Faso and Cambodia, respectively. In the case of outpatients, the average economic burden per episode was $13 (95% CI $23-$29) in Burkina Faso and $23 (95% CI $19-$28) in Kenya. Compared to Cambodia, public contributions were trivial in Burkina Faso and Kenya, reflecting that a majority of medical costs had to be directly borne by patients in the two countries.

Conclusions/significance: The cost of illness for dengue fever is significant in the three countries. In particular, the current study sheds light on the potential economic burden of the disease in Burkina Faso and Kenya where existing evidence is sparse in the context of dengue fever, and underscores the need to achieve Universal Health Coverage. Given the availability of the current (CYD-TDV) and second-generation dengue vaccines in the near future, our study outcomes can be used to guide decision makers in setting health policy priorities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Burkina Faso / epidemiology
  • Cambodia / epidemiology
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Dengue / economics*
  • Dengue / epidemiology*
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Kenya / epidemiology
  • Public Health / economics*

Grant support

This work was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (www.gatesfoundation.org), Grant Number OPP1053432. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.