Clinical manifestations of early childhood dengue virus infection in Thailand

Med J Malaysia. 2021 Nov;76(6):853-856.


Introduction: Clinical manifestations of dengue infection has a wide spectrum. This study aimed to describe and compare the clinical aspects of dengue infection in early childhood and those in older children.

Materials and methods: All dengue patients hospitalised at King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand during 1987-2008 and aged 0-15 years were included. All parameters were compared between patients in two groups: aged 0-2 years and >2-15 years.

Results: Of the 2,221 children who were diagnosed with dengue, 179 were children aged 0-2 years compared with 2,042 children aged >2-15 years. The early childhood group presented significantly more frequently with hepatomegaly, drowsiness, diarrhoea, rash, convulsions, splenomegaly, and unusual manifestations. Dengue fever (DF) was more common in the early childhood group and dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) was less common. The mortality rate of the early childhood group was 1.67%, which was significantly higher than that of the comparative group. Approximately 65% of study subjects were serologically proven to have primary infection, compared to 9.8% of older children.

Conclusions: Clinical manifestations of dengue infection in early childhood are different in some aspects from those of dengue infection in older children, and mortality is higher. To effectively prevent dengue infection morbidity and mortality in children, it is essential that clinicians correctly recognize and diagnose dengue infection, particularly in early childhood.