Corticosteroids for dengue infection

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There is insufficient evidence to justify the use of corticosteroids in managing dengue shock syndrome. As corticosteroids can potentially do harm, clinicians should not use them unless they are participating in a randomized controlled trial comparing corticosteroids with placebo.

Dengue virus is an arbovirus transmitted to humans by two species of mosquito, Aedes aegypti and A. albopictus. The four serotypes of dengue virus can cause a wide range of symptoms from mild febrile illness to dengue haemorrhagic fever (severe illness with fever and bleeding), which leads to dengue shock syndrome (shock, collapse, and sometimes death). It is currently estimated that most of the 100 million cases of dengue infection occurring annually are in South-East Asia, although many also occur in the Americas. Dengue shock syndrome is the most severe form of dengue haemorrhagic fever. The current treatment for dengue shock syndrome is to give fluids directly into the bloodstream, but corticosteroids have been suggested as drugs that may help due to their anti-inflammatory properties. This review compares corticosteroids with placebo or no corticosteroids for treating dengue shock syndrome.

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