Chikungunya and Dengue Fever among Hospitalized Febrile Patients in Northern Tanzania

Julian T. Hertz, O. Michael Munishi, Eng Eong Ooi, Shiqin Howe, Wen Yan Lim, Angelia Chow, Anne B. Morrissey, John A. Bartlett, Jecinta J. Onyango, Venance P. Maro, Grace D. Kinabo, Wilbrod Saganda, Duane J. Gubler and John A. Crump
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Consecutive febrile admissions were enrolled at two hospitals in Moshi, Tanzania. Confirmed acute Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), Dengue virus (DENV), and flavivirus infection were defined as a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) result. Presumptive acute DENV infection was defined as a positive anti-DENV immunoglobulin M (IgM) enzyme-linked immunsorbent assay (ELISA) result, and prior flavivirus exposure was defined as a positive anti-DENV IgG ELISA result. Among 870 participants, PCR testing was performed on 700 (80.5%). Of these, 55 (7.9%) had confirmed acute CHIKV infection, whereas no participants had confirmed acute DENV or flavivirus infection. Anti-DENV IgM serologic testing was performed for 747 (85.9%) participants, and of these 71 (9.5%) had presumptive acute DENV infection. Anti-DENV IgG serologic testing was performed for 751 (86.3%) participants, and of these 80 (10.7%) had prior flavivirus exposure. CHIKV infection was more common among infants and children than adults and adolescents (odds ratio [OR] 1.9, P = 0.026) and among HIV-infected patients with severe immunosuppression (OR 10.5, P = 0.007). CHIKV infection is an important but unrecognized cause of febrile illness in northern Tanzania. DENV or other closely related flaviviruses are likely also circulating.