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Measuring health related quality of life for dengue patients in Iquitos, Peru.


Previous studies measuring the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of individuals with dengue focused on treatment seeking populations. However, the vast majority of global dengue cases are unlikely to be detected by health systems. Representative measurements of HRQoL should therefore include patients with disease not likely to trigger treatment-seeking behavior. This study based in Iquitos, Peru used the Quality of Wellbeing Scale-Self Administered, a survey that enquires about not only physical health, but also psychological health, self-care, mobility, and usual social activities, and rates HRQoL between 0 (death) and 1 (optimum function), to evaluate the impact of dengue on HRQoL. In order to enroll treatment and non treatment-seeking participants, three modalities of participant recruitment were used. In addition to clinic and community-based febrile surveillance, a contact-cluster methodology was also employed to identify infected individuals less likely to seek treatment. We measured changes in HRQoL and identified common areas of health impairment in 73 virologically confirmed dengue cases at 3 time points during the participant's illness; the early-acute (days 0-6 post symptom onset), late-acute (days 7-20), and convalescent illness phases (days 21 +). Participants reported HRQoL related impairments at significantly higher frequency during the early-acute versus convalescent illness phase (Fisher's exact: P<0.01). There was substantial heterogeneity in scores during each illness phase with median scores in the early-acute, late-acute and convalescent phases of 0.56 (IQR: 0.41-0.64), 0.70 (IQR: 0.57-0.94), and 1 (IQR: 0.80-1.00), respectively. In all illness phases participants recruited in clinics had on average the lowest HRQoL scores where as those recruited in the contact clusters had the highest. Only 1 individual who was recruited in the contact-clusters had no reduction in HRQoL score during their illness. These data illustrate that dengue should be considered as a disease that may have significant implications for not only physical health but also psychological health and social functioning. The impact of dengue on the HRQoL of non-treatment-seeking individuals, although lower than the impact among treatment-seeking individuals, is not necessarily trivial.

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