Dengue illness index—A tool to characterize the subjective dengue illness experience

by Stephen J. Thomas, Liane Agulto, Kim Hendrickx, Martin Erpicum, Kay M. Tomashek, M. Cristina Cassetti, Catherine Laughlin, Alexander Precioso, Alexander C. Schmidt, Federico Narvaez, João Bosco Siqueira, Hasitha Tissera, Robert Edelman

Dengue virus infections are a major cause of febrile illness that significantly affects individual and societal productivity and drives up health care costs principally in the developing world. Two dengue vaccine candidates are in advanced clinical efficacy trials in Latin America and Asia, and another has been licensed in more than fifteen countries but its uptake has been limited. Despite these advances, standardized metrics for comparability of protective efficacy between dengue vaccines remain poorly defined. The Dengue Illness Index (DII) is a tool that we developed thru refinement of previous similar iterations in an attempt to improve and standardize the measurement of vaccine and drug efficacy in reducing moderate dengue illness. The tool is designed to capture an individual’s overall disease experience based on how the totality of their symptoms impacts their general wellness and daily functionality. We applied the DII to a diary card, the Dengue Illness Card (DIC), which was examined and further developed by a working group. The card was then refined with feedback garnered from a Delphi methodology-based query that addressed the adequacy and applicability of the tool in clinical dengue research. There was overall agreement that the tool would generate useful data and provide an alternative perspective to the assessment of drug or vaccine candidates, which in the case of vaccines, are assessed by their reduction in any virologically confirmed dengue of any severity with a focus on the more severe. The DIC needs to be evaluated in the field in the context of vaccine or drug trials, prospective cohort studies, or during experimental human infection studies. Here, we present the final DIC resulting from the Delphi process and offer its further development or use to the dengue research community.

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