Seroprevalence of Dengue Fever in US Army Special Operations Forces: Initial Results and the Way Ahead


Caci JB, Blaylock JM, De La Barrera R, Thomas SJ, Lyons AG 14(3). 111 - 115 (Journal Article)

The endemicity of dengue fever (DF) and, consequently, sequelae of DF are increasing worldwide. The increases are largely a result of widespread international travel and the increased range of the mosquito vectors. US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) personnel are at an increased risk of exposure to dengue based on their frequent deployments to and presence in dengue endemic areas worldwide. Repeated deployments to different endemic areas can increase the risk for developing the more serious sequelae of dengue: dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS). Information about the seroprevalence rate of dengue in USASOC personnel, in particular, is lacking and is critical to assessing the risk, tailoring preventive medicine countermeasures, leveraging field diagnostics, and maintaining mission capability. In the first part of a two-part project to assess baseline seroprevalence in USASOC units, a random, unit-stratified sample of 500 anonymous serum specimens from personnel assigned to the highest-risk units in USASOC were screened for dengue using a microneutralization assay. Of the 500 specimens screened, 56 (11.2%) of 500 had neutralizing titers (NT) (MN(50) ≥ 10) against at least one DENV serotype. Subsequent sample titration resulted in 48 (85.7%) of 56 of the samples with NT (MN(50) ≥ 10) against at least one dengue serotype for an overall dengue exposure rate of 9.6% (48 of 500). The second part of the ongoing project, started in 2012, was a multicenter, serosurveillance project using predeployment and postdeployment sera collected from USASOC personnel deployed to South and Central America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Preliminary results show a 13.2% (55 of 414) seropositivity rate. The significance of these findings as they relate to personal risk and operational impact is discussed.

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