Clinical Case Definitions for Argentine Hemorrhagic Fever

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Abstract

Argentine hemorrhagic fever (AHF) is a potentially lethal infection in Argentina. The case-fatality ratio is >15%, but treatment reduces the mortality rate to <1%. Diagnosis is based on clinical and laboratory criteria, but no case definition has been validated. A chart review was conducted for patients hospitalized with suspected AHF. Individuals with a fourfold rise in antibody titer were classified as cases. The combination of a platelet count of <100,000/mm3 and a white blood cell (WBC) count of <2,500/mm3 had a sensitivity and specificity of 87% and 88%, respectively, thus suggesting that the use of these criteria in a case definition would be helpful for epidemiological studies of AHF. The combination of a platelet count of <100,000/mm3 and a WBC count of <4,000/mm3 had a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 71%; the use of these criteria in a case definition should be helpful for screening patients for therapy with immune plasma in the region where AHF is endemic.

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