Predictive factors of dengue severity in hospitalized children and adolescents in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Abstract INTRODUCTION: Dengue is one of the most important mosquito-borne infections. Severe cases are more frequently observed in adults. However, in 2008, the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, experienced a severe dengue epidemic that primarily affected children and caused many cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) and death. METHODS: A cross-sectional analytical study was conducted to examine laboratory diagnosis and clinical epidemiologic factors for confirmed dengue cases in patients aged less than 16 years, from January to June 2008, at a municipal hospital in the City of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Variables associated with severe outcomes and P values less than .05 were evaluated by means of a logistic regression model. RESULTS: Of the 419 dengue cases studied, 296 were classified as DHF and 123 as classical dengue. Six patients who had DHF died. In multivariate analysis, some laboratory and clinical variables were independently associated with DHF: age 5 years or older (odds ratio [OR], 4.94; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.30-18.71), abdominal pain (OR, 8.59; 95% CI, 3.17-23.27), hepatomegaly (OR, 15.87; 95% CI, 5.38-46.85), and positive tourniquet test (OR, 10.84; 95% CI, 3.96-29.71). Hypoalbuminemia occurred more frequently than hemoconcentration in DHF cases, and high aminotransferase levels were associated with severity. CONCLUSIONS: Age greater than 5 years, abdominal pain, painful hepatomegaly, and positive tourniquet test were predictors of DHF. The high frequency of hepatic impairment suggests that acetaminophen should be avoided in severe cases of dengue.