Dengue infections in non-immune travellers to Thailand.Epidemiol Infect. 2013 Feb; 141(2):412-7.EI
Dengue is the most frequent arboviral disease and is expanding geographically. Dengue is also increasingly being reported in travellers, in particular in travellers to Thailand. However, data to quantify the risk of travellers acquiring dengue when travelling to Thailand are lacking. Using mathematical modelling, we set out to estimate the risk of non-immune persons acquiring dengue when travelling to Thailand. The model is deterministic with stochastic parameters and assumes a Poisson distribution for the mosquitoes' biting rate and a Gamma distribution for the probability of acquiring dengue from an infected mosquito. From the force of infection we calculated the risk of dengue acquisition for travellers to Thailand arriving in a typical year (averaged over a 17-year period) in the high season of transmission. A traveller arriving in the high season of transmission and remaining for 7 days has a risk of acquiring dengue of 0·2% (95% CI 0·16-0·23), whereas the risk for travel of 15 and 30 days' duration is 0·46% (95% CI 0·41-0·50) and 0·81% (95% CI 0·76-0·87), respectively. Our data highlight that the risk of non-immune travellers acquiring dengue in Thailand is substantial. The incidence of 0·81% after a 1-month stay is similar to that reported in prospective seroconversion studies in Israeli travellers to Thailand, highlighting that our models are consistent with actual data. Risk estimates based on mathematical modelling offer more detailed information depending on various travel scenarios, and will help the travel medicine provider give better evidence-based advice for travellers to dengue-endemic countries.