Dengue fever in US military personnel in Haiti

Andrew F. Trofa*, Robert F. DeFraites, Bonnie L. Smoak, Niranjan Kanesa-thasan, Alan D. King, Jeanne M. Burrous, Phillip O. MacArthy, Cindy Rossi, Charles H. Hoke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Objective.-To describe clinical manifestations and public health implications of an outbreak of dengue fever (DF) during Operation Uphold Democracy, Haiti, 1994. Design.-Consecutive sample. Setting.-Military combat support hospital, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Patients.-A total of 101 US military personnel with acute febrile illnesses. Interventions.-A disease surveillance team collected clinical and epidemiologic data from US military clinics throughout Haiti. Febrile patients admitted to the combat support hospital were evaluated with standardized clinical and laboratory procedures. The surveillance team followed patients daily. Main Outcome Measure.-Arbovirus isolation and specific antibody determination and symptoms and physical findings. Results.-Febrile illnesses accounted for 103 (25%) of the 406 combat support hospital admissions during the first 6 weeks of deployment. All patients with febrile illness recovered. A total of 30 patients had DF; no patient had evidence of infection with malaria. Dengue virus serotypes 1,2, and 4 were isolated from 22 patients, and 8 patients developed IgM antibody to dengue virus. Patients with DF could not be distinguished from other febrile patients on clinical grounds alone. No arboviruses other than dengue were identified. Conclusions.-Active surveillance, with clinical and laboratory evaluation directed by an epidemiologic team, led to the timely recognition of an outbreak of febrile illness among US troops in Haiti. Vital isolation and serological studies were essential in confirming DF. During the surveillance period, DF accounted for at least 30% of the febrile illnesses among hospitalized US troops. Dengue fever is a significant threat to military personnel and civilian travelers in Haiti and has the potential for introduction to and transmission in the United States.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1546-1548
Number of pages3
JournalJAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association
Issue number19
StatePublished - 21 May 1997
Externally publishedYes


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