Deconstructing "malaria": West Africa as the next front for dengue fever surveillance and control

Justin Stoler, Rawan al Dashti, Francis Anto, Julius N. Fobil, Gordon A. Awandare

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Presumptive treatment of febrile illness patients for malaria remains the norm in endemic areas of West Africa, and "malaria" remains the top source of health facility outpatient visits in many West African nations. Many other febrile illnesses, including bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, share a similar symptomatology as malaria and are routinely misdiagnosed as such; yet growing evidence suggests that much of the burden of febrile illness is often not attributable to malaria. Dengue fever is one of several viral diseases with symptoms similar to malaria, and the combination of rapid globalization, the long-standing presence of Aedes mosquitoes, case reports from travelers, and recent seroprevalence surveys all implicate West Africa as an emerging front for dengue surveillance and control. This paper integrates recent vector ecology, public health, and clinical medicine literature about dengue in West Africa across community, regional, and global geographic scales. We present a holistic argument for greater attention to dengue fever surveillance in West Africa and renew the call for improving differential diagnosis of febrile illness patients in the region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-65
Number of pages8
JournalActa Tropica
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Africa
  • Dengue
  • Febrile illness
  • Ghana
  • Malaria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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