Background & objectives: Dengue fever (DF) is a common cause of acute febrile illness. Skin involvement is seen in more than half of the patients. This study was aimed to compare the clinical profile and outcome in DF patients with or without skin involvement.
Methods: This study included all the patients with DF from the acute febrile illness database of a tertiary care health centre in south India. These patients were further subgrouped into SP and SN (skin involvement positive and negative) based on the presence and absence of skin rash. Differences in clinical presentation, laboratory parameters, disease course, morbidity and outcome among patients with DF with or without skin rash were recorded and analysed statistically.
Results: In total 387 patients (>16 yr) with DF were enrolled into the study. Among these 55 patients had evidence of skin rash. Presence of history of overt bleeding (OR = 4.96, p = 0.027) including gum bleeding (OR = 1.17, p = 0.23), epistaxis (OR = 5.52, p = 0.04), and haematuria (OR = 6.41, p = 0.01) were more among patients with SP as compared to SN. The SP patients were found to have lower levels of platelets during the disease course. Patients with SP had a higher percentage of platelet transfusion which was statistically significant. There was no difference in organ dysfunction and mortality among both the groups.
Interpretation & conclusion: Cutaneous involvement, though common, is not pathognomonic and can help in dengue diagnosis. Adult patients with skin rash can develop worsening thrombocytopenia requiring platelet transfusion. However, there are limited data to suggest that such patients have a worse outcome and higher mortality.
Keywords: Dengue; outcome; skin rash; thrombocytopenia.