People with dengue fever may have a higher risk of stroke, especially in the first two months following infection, a new study has claimed. 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. “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,” said co-author Chia-Hung Kao from the China Medical University Hospital in Taiwan.
Stroke is a severe neurologic complication of dengue fever, described in only a few case reports. The incidence and risk factors for stroke in patients with dengue remain unclear, the researchers said. We conducted a population-based retrospective cohort study to investigate the risk of stroke in patients with dengue, the researchers added. For the study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, 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. The risk of stroke was as high as 2.49 times in the first two months of infection with dengue relative to control patients who did not have dengue,” the researchers said. “Our findings may help with clinical risk evaluation and may serve as a basis for further investigation of the pathogenesis of dengue-related stroke,” they noted.