Dr. Yesim Tozan, clinical associate professor of public health policy and management at New York University College of Global Public Health has published her research, Household Costs of Hospitalized Dengue Illness in Semirural Thailand in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Dengue, an arbovirus infection with an explosive epidemic potential, is a major public health problem in Thailand and other developing countries in subtropical and tropical regions. Dengue illness often leads to school and work absenteeism, medical and non-medical expenditures, and foregone income. A growing body of literature shows that these illness related costs pose a severe economic burden on households, health care systems, and governments. Dr. Tozan conducted a prospective cost-of-illness study to assess the costs and impact of hospitalized pediatric and adult dengue cases on households in a highly endemic area in eastern Thailand. She found that the total cost of a hospitalized dengue case accounted for about 19 – 23 percent of the monthly household income. Although direct medical costs were covered for a majority of hospitalized dengue patients by the Thai Universal Coverage Scheme for health care, direct non-medical and indirect costs were of great economic significance to households. These hidden costs of dengue illness are likely to increase given the shift in the mean age of dengue cases in Thailand and other endemic countries in the region. High household costs of dengue illness justify efforts to improve the coverage of preventive and control measures against dengue in endemic areas.