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Dengue infections during pregnancy: a case series from Sri Lanka and review of the literature.

BACKGROUND: Dengue is a major public health problem in several countries. Few reports document presentations and outcomes of dengue during pregnancy. In many endemic countries as the average age of getting dengue infections is shifting upwards, dengue in pregnancy is likely to be encountered more frequently. Patterns of dengue in patients from different regions are needed if we are to draft evidence based management guidelines.

OBJECTIVES: To document clinical and laboratory findings in a cohort of hospitalised patients with dengue during pregnancy in Sri Lanka and compare their presentation and outcomes with previously published cases.

STUDY DESIGN: Clinical, laboratory, maternal and fetal outcomes and demographic information were collected from patients with confirmed dengue infections during pregnancy treated in a Maternity Hospital in Sri Lanka from 1 January 2000 to 30 June 2004. The Medline database was searched to identify reports relating to dengue infection during pregnancy since 1965.

RESULTS: Twenty-six patients [mean (S.D.) age: 29 (4.2) years] were studied. One (3.8%), 2 (7.7%) and 20 (77%) presented in the first, second and third trimesters of pregnancy, and 3 (11.5%) in the immediate post-partum period. Seventeen (65.3%) had primary and nine (34.7%) secondary dengue infections. Ten (38.5%) had DF, 6 (23.1%): DHF grade I and 10 (38.5%): DHF grade II. Five (19.2%) and three (11.5%) patients who first presented with cough/breathlessness or vaginal bleeding, were initially managed as having a pulmonary embolism or a primary obstetric cause for their vaginal bleeding. Bradycardia was noted in three of the four patients who had a cardiac arrhythmia. Seven (26.9%) needed admission to an ICU. Raised AST and ALT levels were seen in 81.2% and 43.7% of 16 patients in whom liver function tests results were available. No fetal malformations were seen in any of the babies born. The single patient who developed DHF in the first trimester had an abortion while having acute symptoms of dengue.

CONCLUSIONS: Awareness of clinical and laboratory manifestations of dengue in pregnancy should allow its early recognition and institution of appropriate treatment. Reports on dengue in pregnancy from different regions should allow more evidence-based guidelines to be formulated for optimum evaluation and care of such patients. Our data contributes towards this goal.

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