Why are children highly vulnerable to dengue infection?

Benie T. Constantino


The prevalence of dengue infection poses a great public health concern among people living in tropical and subtropical countries like the Philippines. Just recently in 2019, the Philippines had a dengue virus (DENV) outbreak where nearly half of the mortalities were children between 5 and 9 years of age, and around 73% of confirmed DENV cases were under the age of 19. Children are disproportionately affected and are considered to be highly vulnerable to severe dengue infection compared to adults due to several factors. These include: immunological differences--poorly developed immune systems, making them more susceptible to the virus; smaller body sizes and weight means that they are more likely to experience severe symptoms; and their tendency to play outdoors, make them more exposed to mosquito bites. Hence, this article provides an overview of the current understanding for the vulnerability of children to severe dengue infection compared to adults.


dengue virus; dengue infection; dengue shock syndrome; plasma leakage

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Print ISSN: 2704-3517; Online ISSN: 2738-042X