Dengue fever linked to increased risk of stroke

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A new study has found that people with dengue fever have a higher risk of stroke, especially in the first 2 months following infection. The study is published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

"Clinicians in dengue-endemic areas should be aware of this association, especially for patients with dengue who have neurologic deficits or for patients with stroke who have unexplained fever," writes Dr. Chia-Hung Kao, Department of Nuclear Medicine and PET Center, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan, with coauthors.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection that infects at least 100 million people every year around the world, with about 4 billion people at risk of the illness, which includes dengue hemorrhagic fever that can lead to spontaneous bleeding, organ failure and death. It is found in many countries in South and Southeast Asia, Africa, South America, the Caribbean, in the United States and more.

The researchers looked at data on 13 787 patients (most between 31 and 60 years of age) with newly diagnosed dengue between 2000 and 2012. They found the incidence of stroke was higher in people with dengue fever (5.33 v. 3.72 per 1000 person-years). The risk of stroke was as high as 2.49 times in the first 2 months of infection with dengue relative to control patients who did not have dengue.

"Our findings may help with clinical risk evaluation and may serve as a basis for further investigation of the pathogenesis of dengue-related stroke," conclude the authors.

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"Risk of stroke in patients with dengue fever: a population-based cohort study" is published March 12, 2018.

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