Dengue fever (DF) or dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) has not previously been reported in Coimbatore and Erode districts in Tamil Nadu in India. In 1998, 20 hospitalized cases of fever tested positive for dengue virus IgM and/or IgG antibodies. All of them had dengue-compatible illness, and at least four had DHF. Two of them died. Sixteen cases were below 10 years of age. The cases were scattered in 15 distantly located villages and 5 urban localities that had a high
Aedes aegyptipopulation. Although the incidence of dengue-like illness has not increased recently, almost 89% (95/107) of samples from healthy persons in the community tested positive for dengue IgG antibodies. The study showed that dengue has been endemic in the area, but was not suspected earlier. A strong laboratory-based surveillance system is essential to monitor and control DF/DHF.