The decline of dengue in the Americas in 2017: discussion of multiple hypotheses

Perez, Freddy, Llau, Anthony, Gutierrez, Gamaliel, Bezerra, Haroldo, Coelho, Giovanni, Ault, Steven, Barbiratto, Sulamita Brandao, de Resende, Marcello Carballo, Cerezo, Lizbeth, Kleber, Giovanni Luz, Pacheco, Oscar, Perez, Octavio Lenin, Picos, Victor, Rojas, Diana P., Siqueira, Joao Bosco, Suarez, Marco Fidel, Harris, Eva, Castellanos, Luis Gerardo, Espinal, Carlos, and San Martin, Jose Luis (2019) The decline of dengue in the Americas in 2017: discussion of multiple hypotheses. Tropical Medicine and International Health, 24 (4). pp. 442-453.

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OBJECTIVE: Since the 1980s, dengue incidence has increased 30-fold. However, in 2017, there was a noticeable reduction in reported dengue incidence cases within the Americas, including severe and fatal cases. Understanding the mechanism underlying dengue's incidence and decline in the Americas is vital for public health planning. We aimed to provide plausible explanations for the decline in 2017.

METHODS: An expert panel of representatives from scientific and academic institutions, Ministry of Health officials from Latin America and PAHO/WHO staff met in October 2017 to propose hypotheses. The meeting employed six moderated plenary discussions in which participants reviewed epidemiological evidence, suggested explanatory hypotheses, offered their expert opinions on each and developed a consensus.

RESULTS: The expert group established that in 2017, there was a generalised decreased incidence, severity and number of deaths due to dengue in the Americas, accompanied by a reduction in reported cases of both Zika and chikungunya virus infections, with no change in distribution among age groups affected. This decline was determined to be unlikely due to changes in epidemiological surveillance systems, as similar designs of surveillance systems exist across the region. Although sudden surveillance disruption is possible at a country or regional level, it is unlikely to occur in all countries simultaneously. Retrospective modelling with epidemiological, immunological and entomological information is needed. Host or immunological factors may have influenced the decline in dengue cases at the population level through immunity; however, herd protection requires additional evidence. Uncertainty remains regarding the effect on the outcome of sequential infections of different dengue virus (DENV) types and Zika virus (ZIKV), and vice versa. Future studies were recommended that examine the epidemiological effect of prior DENV infection on Zika incidence and severity, the epidemiological effect of prior Zika virus infection on dengue incidence and severity, immune correlates based on new-generation ELISA assays, and impact of prior DENV/other arbovirus infection on ZIKV immune response in relation to number of infections and the duration of antibodies in relation to interval of protection. Follow-up studies should also investigate whether increased vector control intensification activities contributed to the decline in transmission of one or more of these arboviruses. Additionally, proposed studies should focus on the potential role of vector competence when simultaneously exposed to various arboviruses, and on entomological surveillance and its impact on circulating vector species, with a goal of applying specific measures that mitigate seasonal occurrence or outbreaks.

CONCLUSIONS: Multifactorial events may have accounted for the decline in dengue seen in 2017. Differing elements might explain the reduction in dengue including elements of immunity, increased vector control, and even vector and\or viruses changes or adaptations. Most of the results of this expert consensus group meeting are hypothetical and based on limited evidence. Further studies are needed.

Item ID: 60756
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-3156
Keywords: Dengue, epidemiology, Americas, Zika, immune protection
Copyright Information: © 2019 The Authors. Tropical Medicine & International Health Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial andno modifications or adaptations are made.
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 00:35
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4202 Epidemiology > 420202 Disease surveillance @ 50%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3202 Clinical sciences > 320211 Infectious diseases @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920404 Disease Distribution and Transmission (incl. Surveillance and Response) @ 100%
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