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Open Access Highly Accessed Project Note

Managing patients with dengue fever during an epidemic: the importance of a hydration tent and of a multidisciplinary approach

Alexandre R Marra1*, Gustavo Faissol Janot de Matos1, Renata Donato Janeri2, Patricia Sousa Machado1, Claudio Schvartsman3 and Oscar Fernando Pavão dos Santos1

Author Affiliations

1 Intensive Care Unit, Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, São Paulo, Brazil

2 Emergency Department, Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, São Paulo, Brazil

3 Pediatric Department, Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, São Paulo, Brazil

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:335  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-335

Published: 8 September 2011

Abstract

Background

Dengue fever is one of the most common tropical diseases worldwide. Early detection of the disease, followed by intravenous fluid therapy in patients with dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) or with warning signs of dengue has a major impact on the prognosis. The purpose of this study is to describe the care provided in a hydration tent, including early detection, treatment, and serial follow-up of patients with dengue fever.

Findings

The analysis included all patients treated in the hydration tent from April 8 to May 9, 2008. The tent was set up inside the premises of the 2nd Military Firemen Group, located in Meier, a neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The case form data were stored in a computerized database for subsequent assessment. Patients were referred to the tent from primary care units and from secondary city and state hospitals. The routine procedure consisted of an initial screening including vital signs (temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate), tourniquet test and blood sampling for complete blood count. Over a 31-day period, 3,393 case recordings were seen at the hydration tent. The mean was 109 patients per day. A total of 2,102 initial visits and 1,291 return visits were conducted. Of the patients who returned to the hydration tent for reevaluation, 850 returned once, 230 returned twice, 114 returned three times, and 97 returned four times or more. Overall, 93 (5.3%) patients with DHF seen at the tent were transferred to a tertiary hospital. There were no deaths among these patients.

Discussion

As the epidemics were already widespread and there were no technical conditions for routine serology, all cases of suspected dengue fever were treated as such. Implementing hydration tents decrease the number of dengue fever hospitalizations.