Dengue fever may increase stroke risk

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection that infects at least 100 million people every year around the world, with about four 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 Chia-Hung Kao, China Medical University Hospital in Taiwan.

The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), looked at data on 13,787 patients, most between 31 and 60 years of age, with newly diagnosed dengue between 2000 and 2012.

It 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.

“Our findings may help with clinical risk evaluation and may serve as a basis for further investigation of the pathogenesis of dengue-related stroke,” researchers said.