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Brandeis study shows economic impact of dengue virus in Americas
Date:2/7/2011

Dengue illness, the most common mosquito-borne viral disease in the world, has expanded from its Southeast Asian origins and is resurgent in countries such as Argentina, Chile and the continental United States.

The economic burden of dengue (pronounced DENgee) in the Western Hemisphere, according to a new study from Brandeis University researchers published today in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, is approximately $2.1 billion per year. This surpasses the loss from other viral illnesses on a country-by-country basis including human papillomavirus (HPV) the most prevalent sexually transmitted infection, and rotavirus, the primary cause of fatal diarrhea among children worldwide.

According to the study group's estimates, 60 percent of the economic strain caused by dengue is a result of indirect costs primarily productivity losses affecting households, employers and government expenditures. Direct costs include ambulatory and hospital care.

Dengue fever, the more common dengue illness, causes high fever, joint pain, and severe headache. Dengue hemorrhagic fever, the more severe dengue illness, may put a patient into shock and lead to death. The number of annual dengue infections is now estimated between 50-100 million, with 24,000 deaths, primarily among children.

"In 2009 Florida experienced the first major outbreak in the continental U.S. in over 50 years," said Donald S. Shepard, professor at the Schneider Institutes for Health Policy in the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. "We know first-hand that regardless of where you live, we can all be affected by dengue."

Shepard began researching dengue in 1990 when presented with the opportunity to collaborate with scientist Scott B. Halstead, who then headed up the health program at the Rockefeller Foundation in New York City. Shepard's research, which related the economic burdens and the controlling of dengue, was part of
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Contact: Susan Chaityn Lebovits
lebovits@brandeis.edu
781-736-4027
Brandeis University
Source:Eurekalert

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