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Revista Costarricense de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1409-1429


PACHECO ACUNA, Raúl  and  ROMERO ZUNIGA, Juan José. Characteristics of Hospitalized Patients in a Dengue Unit: Costa Rica, 1999-2002. Rev. costarric. salud pública [online]. 2009, vol.18, n.1, pp.22-29. ISSN 1409-1429.

Objective: To characterize the patients at the Dengue Unit of the Monseñor Sanabria Hospital, Puntarenas; during the dengue fever (DEN-2) outbreak in the Central Pacific Region of Costa Rica, from 1999 to 2002. Materials and methods: Descriptive data, clinical findings and hematological results from 267 patients, were collected. Results: The main causes for hospitalization were: poor general condition (35,0%), platelet count under 100000/ul (31,5%) and a positive tourniquet test (21,3 %). Dengue fever affected both men and women, adults (31 years old average) and workers, housewives and students (89,5 %). Most patients came from the areas with the higher urbanization (75,7 %). The average day of admission, since onset of symptoms, was 3,7. The most frequent symptoms were: fever, headache, muscle and joint pain and retroocular pain. Almost 40% of patients had some hemorrhagic manifestation, provoked (26,2 %) or spontaneous (22,8 %), with 7,2 % that bled from more than one body site. The main locations of bleeding were the skin (52,4 %), nose and gums (35,7 %). Sixty-eight percent of cases presented thrombocytopenia. There was no difference in platelet count at the day of hemorrhagic manifestations between the cases that bled and those without bleeding. Leucopenia was reported in 40,5 % of cases. The average number of days of hospitalization was 3,3, ranging from 1 to 12. Conclusion: The findings of this study must be considered in order to foster the use of descriptive epidemiology in the study of events that affect populations even at local, regional or national level, thus contributing to the understanding of these diseases.

Keywords : Dengue; Hospitalization; Costa Rica.

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