Dengue Fever in Portuguese Speaking Countries: Which Epidemiological Links May We Set?

José Silvano, Cândida Abreu


Introduction: The recent occurrence of a number of outbreaks of dengue Portuguese speaking countries with no previous disease, aroused curiosity about the competing factors for the phenomenon and a need for better knowledge of the pathology. We review the dengue-related situation in Portuguese speaking countries, linking the various outbreaks and trying to contribute to a better understanding of the phenomenon.
Material and Methods: Review of the literature on the topic and relevant information obtained from oral communications were included.
Results: The outbreaks occurred between the years of 2009 and 2013 in Cabo Verde, Madeira and Angola (excluding the endemic phenomenon in Brazil), share the same vector Aedes aegypti, but are due to different viral serotypes, as shown by genotypic studies. The strong sub-notification of the disease in Africa and lack of diagnostic tools prevent a true characterization of the situation.
Discussion: The hypothesis of a link between some of the outbreaks is not completely rejected. The Portuguese territory could be exposed to an increasingly high risk of dengue introduction, not only because of the proximity with these territories, but also because of the current climate changes. The main fight is, in spite of the yet utopic emergent tools, the vector control.
Conclusion: A link between the outbreaks has not been proven but local preparation of healthcare professionals, creation of public health strategies and maintenance of surveillance systems are needed. More epidemiological and entomological studies are needed to characterize the real incidence of disease in Portuguese speaking countries.
Keywords: Dengue; Dengue Virus; Brazil; Portugal; Angola; Cape Verde.

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