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Impact of COVID-19 on Dengue: Trends & Infections

  • June 24,2021
  • 2 Min Read
Impact of COVID-19 on Dengue: Trends & Infections

To understand how or if the pandemic has affected the trends of dengue infection, we performed an analysis on all dengue tests done at Suburban Diagnostics over the past 6 years.

On over 1 lakh samples, we found:

  • The dengue positivity rate showed a mild downward trend between 2015 and 2018, with a mild spike in 2019 (possibly correlating with the 2019 global dengue epidemic). There was a drastic drop in the positivity rate in 2020, corresponding to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

  • The male to female ratio also fluctuated between 1.17 and 1.29 between 2015 and 2019. This ratio also showed a spike in 2020.

  • The age distribution of cases also showed a slight shift in 2020 with older people having a larger share amongst the infected.

Our data is concordant with the National Vector Borne Disease Control Program figures which showed a massive 77% drop in the number of cases for Maharashtra in 2020 – our data showed a dip by 73%. Similar dips were seen in other states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka as well.

The most probable cause is a lower transmission of the vector due to lockdown and social distancing and stringent hygiene measures implemented during the COVID-19. In previous years, major transmissions were seen to happen in schools, marketplaces and workplaces. Due to the pandemic, such foci of transmission did not happen.

Movement of infected humans has played an important role in the spread of dengue. The unprecedented decreases in travel volume and distance induced by lockdown also impacted dengue transmission.

However, it should be noted that the positive effects of lockdown on dengue transmission are unlikely to be long lasting. Like the effect of lockdown on COVID-19, without permanent changes to human, vector populations or the way in which they interact, dengue virus infections will be deferred rather than prevented.

Suburban offers the Fever Detect 5 in 1 Panel (FD5). A unique fever detection panel by PCR to quickly diagnose Chikungunya, Dengue, Malaria, Typhoid, and Leptospirosis from a single blood sample. 

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