Assessing the Economics of Dengue: Results from a Systematic Review of the Literature and Expert Survey

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Background: The economics of dengue is complex and multifaceted. Objectives: We performed a systematic review of the literature to provide a critical overview of the issues related to dengue economics research and to form a background with which to address the question of cost. Methods: Three literature databases were searched [PubMed, Embase and Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Literature (LILACS)], covering a period from 1980 to 2013, to identify papers meeting preset inclusion criteria. Studies were reviewed for methodological quality on the basis of a quality checklist developed for this purpose. An expert survey was designed to identify priority areas in dengue economics research and to identify gaps between the methodology and actual practice. Survey responses were combined with the literature review findings to determine stakeholder priorities in dengue economics research. Results: The review identified over 700 papers. Forty-two of these papers met the selection criteria. The studies that were reviewed presented results from 32 dengue-endemic countries, underscoring the importance of dengue as a global public health problem. Cost analyses were the most common, with 21 papers, followed by nine cost-effectiveness analyses and seven cost-of-illness studies, indicating a relatively strong mix of methodologies. Dengue annual overall costs (in 2010 values) ranged from US$13.5 million (in Nicaragua) to $56 million (in Malaysia), showing cost variations across countries. Little consistency exists in the way costs were estimated and dengue interventions evaluated, making generalizations around costs difficult. Conclusions: The current evidence suggests that dengue costs are substantial because of the cost of hospital care and lost earnings. Further research in this area will broaden our understanding of the true economic impact of dengue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1107-1135
Number of pages29
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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