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Jornal de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0021-7557

Abstract

RODRIGUES, Marisa B. P. et al. Is it possible to identify dengue in children on the basis of Ministry of Health criteria for suspected dengue cases?. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2005, vol.81, n.3, pp. 209-215. ISSN 0021-7557.  http://dx.doi.org/10.2223/1341.

OBJECTIVES: To identify clinical characteristics indicative of dengue and to evaluate the applicability to children of the Health Ministry criteria for suspected cases. METHODOS: A cross-sectional study undertaken at the General Pediatrics Center of the Fundação Hospitalar de Minas Gerais. Children were enrolled if presenting acute febrile conditions with no definite etiology, lasting > 24 hours and < 7 days and if resident in the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte. Clinical variables were investigated, specific tests were performed and aspartate-aminotransferase assayed, during a period considered both endemic and epidemic for the disease. The subset of children who did have dengue was compared with the subset of nonspecific acute febrile diseases. The Health Ministry criteria for suspected cases was evaluated. RESULTS: Dengue was diagnosed in 50.4% of the 117 children studied. There were no statistically significant associations between the disease and the majority of the symptoms analyzed. Only exanthema was more often associated with dengue (Prevalence Ratio = 1.49; 95% CI: 1.05-2.11). The criteria for suspected cases of dengue had a sensitivity of just 50.8% and a positive predictive value of 62.5%. These values were greater among schoolchildren and during the period of greater disease incidence. CONCLUSIONS: Dengue is common among febrile diseases of childhood, with prevalence that varies according to the epidemiological situation. The clinical status of children with dengue was very similar to that of children with other nonspecific diseases. The Health Ministry criteria for suspected cases were shown to be of little use, particularly with smaller children and during periods of reduced incidence.

Keywords : Dengue [diagnosis]; fever; signs and symptoms; child; preschool; exanthema.

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