Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease. that occurs in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Mild dengue fever causes high fever, rash, and muscle and joint pain. A severe form of dengue fever, also called dengue hemorrhagic fever, can cause severe bleeding, a sudden drop in blood pressure (shock) and death.
Many people, especially children and teens, may experience no signs or symptoms during a mild case of dengue fever. When symptoms do occur, they usually begin four to 10 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Signs and symptoms of dengue fever most commonly include:
- Fever, as high as 106 F (41 C)
- Muscle, bone and joint pain
- Pain behind eyes
- Might also experience:
Most people recover within a week or so. In some cases, symptoms worsen and can become life-threatening. Blood vessels often become damaged and leaky. And the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in bloodstream drops. This can cause:
- Widespread rash
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rarely, minor bleeding from your gums or nose
- Bleeding from nose and mouth
- Severe abdominal pain
- Persistent vomiting
- Bleeding under the skin, which might look like bruising
- If severe, dengue fever can damage the lungs, liver or heart. Blood pressure can drop to dangerous levels, causing shock and, in some cases, death.
Dengue fever is caused by any one of four dengue viruses spread by mosquitoes that thrive in and near human lodgings. When a mosquito bites a person infected with a dengue virus, the virus enters the mosquito. When the infected mosquito then bites another person, the virus enters that person's bloodstream.
After recovery from dengue fever, immunity develops to the virus strain that caused infection — but not to the other three dengue fever viruses. The risk of developing severe dengue fever, also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever, actually increases if infected a second or third time.
Tests and Diagnosis
Treatment and Drug
- Diagnosing dengue fever can be difficult, because its signs and symptoms can be easily confused with those of other diseases — such as malaria, leptospirosis and typhoid fever.
- History of travel to region with dengue outbreak..
- Certain laboratory tests can detect evidence of the dengue viruses, but test results usually come back too late to help direct treatment decisions.
No specific treatment for dengue fever exists. Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration from vomiting and high fever. Paracetamol (Crocin, others) can alleviate pain and reduce fever. Avoid pain relievers that can increase bleeding complications — such as aspirin (Dispirin), ibuprofen (Brufen) and naproxen sodium (Nepra) If you have severe dengue fever, you may need:
- Supportive care in a hospital
- Intravenous (IV) fluid and electrolyte replacement
- Blood pressure monitoring
- Transfusion to replace blood loss
No vaccine is available
If living in or traveling to areas where dengue fever is common, these tips may help reduce risk of mosquito bites:
- The mosquitoes that carry the dengue viruses are most active from dawn to dusk, but they can also bite at night.
- Wear protective clothing. When going into mosquito-infested areas, wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, socks and shoes. Stay in well-screened house.
- Use mosquito repellent.
- The mosquitoes that carry the dengue virus typically live in and around houses, breeding in standing water that can collect in such things as used tires, coolers, open tanks etc. Reduce the breeding habitat to lower mosquito populations.