Objectives: To describe the epidemiological characteristics and the clinical manifestations of the confirmed dengue cases over a ten-year period in Barbados, one of the English-speaking Caribbean countries.
Methods: All the cases of confirmed dengue from 2000 to 2009 were retrospectively studied. Long-term trends in incidence rate, demographic characteristics such as age, gender and seasonal distribution; clinical manifestations, immunological characteristics, need for hospitalization and mortality were studied.
Results: There were 3413 confirmed cases of dengue including 778 (22.8%) children and 2635 (77.2%) adults. The mean annual incidence rate of dengue was 1.36/1000 population. The median age of the persons with confirmed dengue was 27 years. The largest number of cases was seen in the 11 to 16-year age group. Hospitalization was required in 13.1% of dengue cases; 72.5% and 84% of all dengue were secondary infections among the children and adults, respectively. Dengue haemorrhagic fever accounted for 2.2% and 6% of all confirmed dengue among children and adults, respectively. The overall case fatality rate in this study was 0.35%.
Conclusions: Dengue is a significant health problem primarily in adolescents and young adults. It is characterized by less severe cases and lower mortality rate.