Background: Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection which has been estimated to cause a global economic burden of US$8.9 billion per year. 40% of this estimate was due to what are known as productivity costs (the costs associated with productivity loss from both paid and unpaid work that results from illness, treatment or premature death). Although productivity costs account for a significant proportion of the estimated economic burden of dengue, the methods used to calculate them are often very variable within health economic studies. The aim of this review was to systematically examine the current estimates of the productivity costs associated with dengue episodes in Asia and to increase awareness surrounding how productivity costs are estimated.
Method: We searched PubMed and Web of Knowledge without date and language restrictions using terms related to dengue and cost and economics burden. The titles and abstracts of publications related to Asia were screened to identify relevant studies. The reported productivity losses and costs of non-fatal and fatal dengue episodes were then described and compared. Costs were adjusted for inflation to 2017 prices.
Results: We reviewed 33 relevant articles, of which 20 studies reported the productivity losses, and 31 studies reported productivity costs. The productivity costs varied between US$6.7-1445.9 and US$3.8-1332 for hospitalized and outpatient non-fatal episodes, respectively. The productivity cost associated with fatal dengue episodes varied between US$12,035-1,453,237. A large degree of this variation was due to the range of different countries being investigated and their corresponding economic status. However, estimates for a given country still showed notable variation.
Conclusion: We found that the estimated productivity costs associated with dengue episodes in Asia are notable. However, owing to the significant variation in methodology and approaches applied, the reported productivity costs of dengue episodes were often not directly comparable across studies. More consistent and transparent methodology regarding the estimation of productivity costs would help the estimates of the economic burden of dengue be more accurate and comparable across studies.
Keywords: Asia; Dengue; Economic burden; Indirect costs; Informal caregiver; Productivity costs; Productivity losses.