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International Notes Dengue -- Mexico, 1983

Although fewer dengue cases were reported in Mexico in 1983 than in 1982 (12,967, compared with 32,640), dengue transmission was reported over a wider geographic area (1). In 1982, 17 Mexican states reported dengue cases, and in 1983, 22 reported cases. For the first time, Guaymas (in the northwest state of Sonora), Guaymuchil (in the neighboring state of Sinaloa), and Zihuatanejo (in the south-central state of Guerrero) reported cases in 1983. Only the north-central part of the country and Northern Baja California, areas predominated by desert and mountains, were free of the disease (Figure 2). Of 10 large cities involved in an epidemiologic surveillance program, Tuxtla Gutierrez (Chiapas), Tapachula (Chiapas), Acapulco (Guerrero), and Merida (Yucatan) had the most dengue cases (Table 2). Transmission appears distinctly seasonal, with most cases occurring between August and October.

As of week 40 (October 15, 1983), 117 paired sera had been tested for dengue hemagglutination-inhibition (HI) antibodies by the Instituto de Salubridad y Enfermedades Tropicales, Mexico City, and 56 (48%) were reported positive (Table 3). Although the infecting virus serotypes are not known for all outbreaks, a collaborative effort by the above laboratory and CDC has confirmed that at least three serotypes are currently circulating in Mexico. Dengue 4 was isolated from two persons in the state of Oaxaca and dengue 2, from two specimens taken in Guerrero state; dengue 1 was isolated from southern Puebla state and Sonora state.

To date, no deaths or serious illnesses associated with documented dengue have been reported from Mexico. Reported by L Cabrera-Coello, MD, Director de Vigilancia y Epidemiologia, E Gallardo, MD, Epidemiologist, Dengue Surveillance Program, Secretaria de Salubridad y Asistencia, Mexico City, E Zorilla, MD, Director, ML Zarate de Guaneros, MD, Virology Dept, Instituto de Salubridad y Enfermedades Tropicales, Mexico City, Mexico; Dengue Br, Div of Vector-Borne Viral Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, CDC.

Editorial Note

Editorial Note: Epidemic dengue has been recognized in Mexico only since 1978, when the hemispheric pandemic of dengue 1 spread to southern Mexico. In 1980, dengue 1 moved up the east coast of Mexico into the lower Rio Grande valley of Texas (2) and subsequently spread to most other regions of Mexico (3). Serologic evidence of dengue 4 and dengue 2 transmission in Mexico was first detected in 1981 and 1982, respectively (4), but 1983 was the first year these serotypes were associated with known epidemic activity. With Aedes aegypti prevalent throughout much of the country, these serotypes may also spread to other areas with susceptible human populations.

Persons traveling to Mexico should be made aware of possible dengue infection and should take routine precautions against mosquitoes.


  1. Resumen Epidemiologica de Dengue, Vigilancia Epidemiologica de Dengue, Voletin Epidemiologia 1984;4:18-27.

  2. CDC. Dengue--United States. MMWR 1980;29:531-2.

  3. CDC. Dengue type 1 in Mexico. MMWR 1982;31:468, 473-4.

  4. CDC. Dengue surveillance, reference and research, 1982 annual report. Atlanta, Ga.: Centers for Disease Control.

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