A newly published study in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene published Monday shows that the number of dengue fever cases reported in the country annually are vastly underreported.

Public domain photo/Robin klein
Public domain photo/Robin klein

The study, Economic and Disease Burden of Dengue Illness in India, by researchers at Brandeis University’s Schneider Institute for Health Policy in Waltham, Massachusetts and several Indian institutions reveals that annual data published by the Ministry of Health, a 6-year-average of 20,474 cases is low, so low that the study shows that using systematic empirical data to estimate the disease burden, the actual number is closer to 6 million cases annually, or nearly 300 times what the health ministry is reporting.

In addition, the research shows that India is spending in excess of $1 billion each year in medical and other expenses due to the mosquito borne virus.

In the past 50 years, the incidence of dengue worldwide has increased 30-fold, largely as a consequence of the growth of cities and increased travel.

Dengue fever is an infectious disease carried by mosquitoes and caused by any of four related dengue viruses. This disease used to be called “break-bone fever” because it sometimes causes severe joint and muscle pain that feels like bones are breaking.

People get the dengue virus from the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. It is not contagious from person to person. For more infectious disease news and informationvisit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

There are three types of dengue fever in order of less severe to most: the typical uncomplicated dengue fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHS) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS). Looking for a job in health care? Check here to see what’s available

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there may be 50–100 million dengue infections worldwide every year. However, new research from the University of Oxford and the Wellcome Trust, using cartographic approaches, estimate there to be 390 million dengue infections per year worldwide.