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Colombia Médica

On-line version ISSN 1657-9534


ROJAS PALACIOS, Jorge Humberto; ALZATE, Alberto; MARTINEZ ROMERO, Héctor Jairo  and  CONCHA-EASTMAN, Alberto Ignacio. AfroColombian ethnicity, a paradoxical protective factor against Dengue. Colomb. Med. [online]. 2016, vol.47, n.3, pp.133-141. ISSN 1657-9534.


Dengue is a priority public health problem. During epidemics in Cuba and Haiti, ethnic African descendant population had lower risk of dengue, and the ethnic factor was proposed as a protective one.


To determine the relation between the Dengue's cumulative incidence and the Afro-Colombian proportion in communities of Cali, during the epidemic of 2013.


This study was conducted in Cali, Colombia. The design was ecological, using information from the National Census 2005 projected to 2013, from the National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE), and the National Epidemiological Surveillance System. It was obtained the Pearson´s correlation coefficient between cumulative incidence and the proportion of Afro-Colombian population by communities. Additionally, the cumulative incidences of dengue were evaluated in two zones with different proportion of Afro-Colombian population. The association was also evaluated for aggregation bias, confounding by social variables, and interaction by area of ​​residence.


Dengue´s cumulative incidence was significantly lower for Afro-Colombians regardless of the proportion of Afro-Colombian population in the area of residence. The relative risk of dengue between non-Afro-Colombians and Afro-Colombians was 9.4 (95% CI=8.4-10.6) in zones with high proportion of Afro-Colombian population, while the relative risk of dengue was 4.0 (95% CI :3.6 - 4.4) in the zone with lower proportion of Afro-Colombian population. There was no evidence of aggregation bias or confounding in the association by social variables.


The Afro-Colombian population had a significantly lower risk of getting dengue and its complications, compared with the non-Afro-Colombian population. The non-Afro-Colombian populations living in areas with a high proportion of Afro-Colombians increase their risk of dengue more than double, suggesting an asymptomatic viremic environment.

Keywords : Ethnicity; ethnic groups AfroColombian; African continental ancestry group dengue; ecological; epidemiological surveillance protective factors; risk factors.

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