A double whammy: The association between comorbidities and severe dengue among adult patients-a matched case-control study

Wei Yao Ng, Rafidah Atan, Nor'azim Mohd Yunos, Adam Harrish Bin Md Kamal, Mohd Hariz Roslan, Kai Yuan Quah, Kai Xuan Teh, Masliza Zaid, Mahazir Kassim, Jeevitha Mariapun, Chin Fang Ngim, Amreeta Dhanoa, Tsin Wen Yeo

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BACKGROUND: Dengue infection is the most prevalent mosquito-borne viral infection globally. Concurrently, there has also been an upsurge of non-communicable comorbidities. We aimed to investigate the association between these comorbidities and the development of severe dengue. METHODS: We performed a retrospective, case-control study involving 117 cases with severe dengue and 351 controls with non-severe dengue; matched according to gender, age (+/- 5 years old), and admission date (+/- 2 weeks). We analyzed the data using conditional odds ratio (cOR) and adjusted conditional odds ratio (AcOR) using univariate and multivariable conditional logistic regression respectively. RESULTS: Six main comorbidities namely obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, chronic pulmonary disease, and ischemic heart disease were observed among cases and controls. Multivariable conditional logistic regression model found only hypertension to be independently associated with the development of severe dengue (ACOR 2.46; 95% CI:1.09-5.53). Among symptoms at presentation, lethargy, vomiting, bleeding manifestations, and abdominal pain were associated with increased odds of severe dengue, although the associations were not statistically significant. Headache (ACOR: 0:32; 95% CI: 0.21-0.51) and skin rash (ACOR: 0.42; 95% CI: 0.22-0.81) were associated with significantly lower odds of severe dengue. Severe dengue patients were also found to have significantly higher white cell count, urea, creatinine, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, creatine kinase, and lactate dehydrogenase on admission, while platelet and albumin were significantly lower compared to non-severe dengue patients. CONCLUSIONS: Our study found a significant association between hypertension and the development of severe dengue in adult patients. For clinical practice, this finding suggests that dengue patients with underlying hypertension warrant closer clinical monitoring for deterioration. The association between significant derangement in various laboratory parameters and severe dengue as shown in this study is in keeping with previous reports. While further substantiation by larger prospective studies will be desirable, this association may serve to inform the dengue triaging process.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0273071
Number of pages15
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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