First Study Estimates Economic Impact of Dengue Illness in Americas at $2.1 Billion Per Year

February 4, 2011

DEERFIELD, Illinios, February 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The first
assessment of the total cost of dengue illness in the Americas reveals the
economic burden to be approximately $2.1 billion per year, exceeding that
from other viral illnesses including human papillomavirus (HPV) and
rotavirus. Results of the study conducted by Brandeis University were
released in the February issue of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine
and Hygiene (http://www.ajtmh.org/ ).

Approximately 60 percent of this economic burden results from indirect
costs mostly related to productivity losses affecting households, employers
and government expenditures. Direct costs include ambulatory and hospital
care. Estimates are based on five components: the number of reported dengue
cases, the degree of under-reporting, the direct and indirect costs per case,
the disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) burden per case and the country’s
demographic information.

“Dengue is a growing human and economic burden worldwide and in 2009 we
saw the first major outbreak in the continental U.S. in over 50 years,” said

Donald Shepard, PhD, Brandeis University. “We know first-hand that regardless
of where you live, we are all affected by dengue. At Brandeis, we lost a
remarkable graduate, Mironda Heston, due to dengue while she was working in
Haiti. In her memory, we are extremely dedicated and proud to contribute to a
better understanding of this awful virus in hopes to better control it.”

Dengue is the most common mosquito-borne virus in the world, recently
reemerging in countries that were previously free of it. Globally, the
projected number of annual dengue infections is estimated between 50-100
million, with 24,000 deaths, mainly in children. When compared to the same
countries, the economic impact of dengue exceeds that estimated for HPV, the
most common sexually transmitted infection, and rotavirus, the most common
cause of severe, dehydrating diarrhea among children worldwide.

“Economic impact studies are a valuable tool to help policymakers,
scientists and health professionals assess the progress being made to control
and eradicate diseases here and around the world,” said Peter J. Hotez, MD,
PhD, President, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. “As
citizens of a global world, we cannot tolerate the continued pain and
suffering that is caused by dengue. We must forge ahead with vaccine
development and community control, participation and education campaigns.”

About the ASTMH

The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (
48a7-857a-c789a07c27d1), founded in 1903, is a worldwide organization of
scientists, clinicians and program professionals whose mission is to promote
global health through the prevention and control of infectious and other
diseases that disproportionately afflict the global poor.

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About the Heller School

Prof. Shepard and co-author, Yara Halasa, are based at the Heller School
for Social Policy and Management (http://heller.brandeis.edu/). With an
international and domestic policy focus, the Heller School sponsors a social
policy doctoral program and five master’s programs in addition to having an
active roster of 125 policy research projects.

About Mironda Heston

In September 2004, at the age of 24, Mironda Heston, MA ’04, Brandeis
, lost her battle against dengue fever which she contracted while
doing international development work. Linda Heston, Mironda’s mother, is
“thrilled that Brandeis University is continuing to focus on work that will
encourage the creation of a vaccine or other solutions to control or
eliminate dengue in the U.S. and around the world so other families do not
have to go through what we went through.” Mironda was dedicated to improving
the lives of the disproportionately poor and traveled yearly to Haiti where
she contracted dengue. The Mironda Heston Health Center in Haiti and the

Mironda Heston Memorial Fund at Brandeis’s Heller School are named in her

SOURCE Brandeis University

Source: newswire

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