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Rev Saude Publica. 1998 Oct;32(5):447-54.

[Dengue epidemic in Fortaleza, Ceará: randomized seroepidemiologic survey].

[Article in Portuguese]

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Centro de Referência Nacional de Arbovírus, Instituto Evandro Chagas, Belém, PA, Brasil.



A seroepidemiological random survey was carried out in Fortaleza city, State of Ceará, Brazil, following an epidemic of dengue virus type 2 (DEN 2), with the purpose of evaluating the frequency of clinical manifestations (signs and symptoms) and the prevalence of dengue infection.


A questionnaire calling for information on address, sex, age, clinical, epidemiological and economic status was applied to the population, followed by venupuncture collection of 5-10 ml of blood for testing by hemagglutination-inhibition (HI). The sample was calculated to obtain a prevalence of 20% with relative risk of 10% and confidence interval of 95%. All information obtained was analyzed by computer using Epi Info 5.0, Lotus 123, Excel 5.0, and Stata software.


A total of 1,341 serum samples were obtained from nine Health Districts (SD) and tested by hemagglutination inhibition. Of these, 589 (44%) were positive and 752 (56%) negative. Of the positive results, 93 primary responses (PR) (7%) to DEN-2 and 496 secondary responses (SR) (37%) were observed. The global prevalence in the SD ranged from 21% to 71%. There were 41% (243/589) asymptomatic infections and 59% (346/589) symptomatic infections. Data analysis showed no difference in frequency by sex, age, on schooling, although a highly statistically significant difference was found as between the different social classes, the infection most commonly observed being among people of better social status. The stratification of positive cases showed greater prevalence of AI (p < 0.001) and SI (p < 0.0001) in both sexes, among people with SR rather than PR. The most prevalent symptoms were fever, headache, muscle pains, rash, dizziness, and joint pains. Moreover, itching, retro-bulbar pain, rash, and gingival bleeding, showed statistically significant differences. On the other hand, dizziness and joint pains were more associated in the patients with SR than PR, and statistically significant differences were also observed.

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