Dengue is a major public health problem especially in tropical and subtropical countries of Asia and Latin-America. An effective dengue vaccine is not yet available, but several vaccine candidates are currently being evaluated in clinical trials. Accurate country-level incidence data are crucial to assess the cost-effectiveness of such vaccines and will assist policy-makers in making vaccine introduction decisions. Existing national surveillance systems are often passive and are designed to monitor trends and to detect disease outbreaks. Our analyses of data from prospectively followed cohorts with laboratory confirmation of dengue cases show that, in Thailand and Cambodia, dengue incidence is underrecognized by more than 8-fold. The magnitude of the outpatient burden caused by dengue is not assessed or reflected by the national surveillance data. We estimate that a median of more than 340,000 symptomatic dengue virus infections occurred annually in children less than 15 years of age in Thailand in Cambodia between 2003 and 2007
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