Dengue Fever

Overview

Definition

Dengue fever is a viral infection. It can range from mild to severe and life-threatening,

Causes

An infected mosquito passes the virus through a bite to the skin. The virus enters the blood. It spreads throughout the body.

Mosquito Bite
Mosquito bite
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Risk Factors

The risk for dengue fever higher for those who live in or travel to:

  • Southeast Asia
  • Western Pacific
  • Americas
  • Eastern Mediterranean
  • Africa

SymptomsandDiagnosis

Symptoms

Some people do not have symptoms. Others may have a mild, flu-like illness. Symptoms may be:

  • Fever and chills
  • Headache or eye pain
  • Muscle or bone pain
  • Red or purple spots in skin
  • Minor bleeding in the nose or gums
  • Nausea or vomiting

Serious signs are:

  • Severe belly pain
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Bleeding from the gums or nose that is hard to stop
  • Black tarry stools or blood in the urine
  • Tiredness or restlessness
  • Problems breathing
  • Pale, cold, or clammy skin
  • Feeling faint

A serious infection can lead to shock and organ failure.

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms, and health and travel history. A physical exam and blood tests may be done.

A tourniquet test may be done to check for bleeding under the skin. This test uses an inflated blood pressure cuff on the upper arm for 5 minutes.

Treatments

Treatment

Treatment depends on how severe the illness is. It may include rest and replacing fluids by mouth or IV.

In severe cases, a blood transfusion may be given.

Prevention

The risk of infection may be reduced by mosquito control measures. A dengue vaccine is available in some countries.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.

a (Break Bone Fever)

RESOURCES

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov 

IDSA—Infectious Diseases Society of America http://www.idsociety.org 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Public Health Agency of Canada https://www.canada.ca 

Travel Health and Safety https://travel.gc.ca 

References

Dengue. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/dengue. Accessed February 1, 2021.

Dengue. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/dengue. Accessed February 1, 2021.

Dengue fever. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/dengue-fever . Accessed February 1, 2021.

Karesh J, Mazzoli R, et al. Ocular manifestations of mosquito-transmitted diseases. Military Medicine, 2018; 183 (S): 450-458.

Mosquito avoidance. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/prevention/mosquito-avoidance. Accessed February 1, 2021.