Epidemiological and Clinical Characteristics of Acute Dengue Virus Infections Detected through Acute Febrile Illness Surveillance, Belize 2020

Viruses. 2022 Apr 7;14(4):768. doi: 10.3390/v14040768.


The Acute Febrile Illness (AFI) Surveillance Network in Belize is a country-wide active surveillance program aimed at diagnosing vector-borne, respiratory, and enteric pathogens among patients presenting to 11 participating hospitals and clinics with new onset fever. This study describes the epidemiology of dengue virus (DENV) infections in Belize diagnosed through AFI surveillance in 2020. Of the 894 patients enrolled and PCR-tested for DENV in this period, 44 DENV-positive cases (5%) were identified. All four DENV serotypes were detected, with two cases testing positive for DENV serotype 4, which is the first report of this serotype in Belize since 2004. The majority of DENV cases (66%) were diagnosed in the Belize District, which contains the largest urban center in the country (Belize City). Positive cases were detected between January 2020 and September 2020, with the majority (89%) diagnosed during the dry season between January and April, unlike years prior when cases were more often diagnosed during the wet season. Clinical signs and symptoms varied slightly between DENV serotypes. Active surveillance of DENV among AFI cases provides insight into the epidemiologic and clinical characteristics of DENV in Belize. This information is important for informing public health interventions to mitigate DENV transmission.

Keywords: Belize; Central America; acute febrile illness; dengue virus; surveillance.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Belize
  • Dengue Virus* / genetics
  • Dengue* / diagnosis
  • Dengue* / epidemiology
  • Fever / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Virus Diseases*