Overview of dengue outbreaks in the southwestern Indian Ocean and analysis of factors involved in the shift toward endemicity in Reunion Island: A systematic review

PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2022 Jul 28;16(7):e0010547. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0010547. eCollection 2022 Jul.


Background: Dengue is the world's most prevalent mosquito-borne viral disease. It is endemic in many tropical and subtropical countries and represents a significant global health burden. The first reports of dengue virus (DENV) circulation in the South West Indian Ocean (SWIO) islands date back to the early 1940s; however, an increase in DENV circulation has been reported in the SWIO in recent years. The aim of this review is to trace the history of DENV in the SWIO islands using available records from the Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mayotte, Seychelles, and Reunion. We focus in particular on the most extensive data from Reunion Island, highlighting factors that may explain the observed increasing incidence, and the potential shift from one-off outbreaks to endemic dengue transmission.

Methods: Following the PRISMA guidelines, the literature review focused queried different databases using the keywords "dengue" or "Aedes albopictus" combined with each of the following SWIO islands the Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mayotte, Seychelles, and Reunion. We also compiled case report data for dengue in Mayotte and Reunion in collaboration with the regional public health agencies in these French territories. References and data were discarded when original sources were not identified. We examined reports of climatic, anthropogenic, and mosquito-related factors that may influence the maintenance of dengue transmission independently of case importation linked to travel.

Findings and conclusions: The first report of dengue circulation in the SWIO was documented in 1943 in the Comoros. Then not until an outbreak in 1976 to 1977 that affected approximately 80% of the population of the Seychelles. DENV was also reported in 1977 to 1978 in Reunion with an estimate of nearly 30% of the population infected. In the following 40-year period, DENV circulation was qualified as interepidemic with sporadic cases. However, in recent years, the region has experienced uninterrupted DENV transmission at elevated incidence. Since 2017, Reunion witnessed the cocirculation of 3 serotypes (DENV-1, DENV-2 and DENV-3) and an increased number of cases with severe forms and deaths. Reinforced molecular and serological identification of DENV serotypes and genotypes circulating in the SWIO as well as vector control strategies is necessary to protect exposed human populations and limit the spread of dengue.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review
  • Systematic Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aedes*
  • Animals
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Humans
  • Indian Ocean
  • Mosquito Vectors*
  • Reunion / epidemiology

Grant support

This work was supported by the European Regional development Fund (RUNDENG 20201640-00222937 to PM, DIRED/2018-1182 to SH) and the Interreg (VECTOBIOMES RE0009962 to PM. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.