Centre of Excellence (COE) – HIV Care
Dengue
Dengue fever is a virus-based disease spread by mosquitoes.

Alternative Names

O'nyong-nyong fever; Dengue-like disease; Breakbone fever

Causes, Incidence, And Risk Factors
Dengue fever is caused by one of four different but related viruses. It is spread by the bite of mosquitoes, most commonly the mosquito Aedes aegypti, which is found in tropic and subtropic regions. This includes parts of :
  • Indonesian archipelago into northeastern Australia
  • South and Central America
  • Southeast Asia
  • Sub-Saharan Africa

Dengue is typically transmitted by the mosquito Aedes aegypti, and rarely Aedes albopictus. The virus has four different serotypes, and an infection with one usually gives lifelong immunity to it but only short term immunity to the others. There is currently no available vaccine, and prevention of outbreaks is via attempts to reduce the habitat and number of mosquitoes as well as limiting exposure to bites.

Treatment of acute dengue is supportive, using either oral or intravenous rehydration for mild or moderate disease and possible blood transfusions for more severe cases. Rates of infection have increased dramatically over the last 50 years with approximate 50—100 million people being infected yearly. The disease has become global and is currently endemic in more than 110 countries with 2.5 billion people living in areas where it is prevalent.

Symptoms

Dengue fever begins with a sudden high fever, often as high as 104 - 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
A flat, red rash may appear over most of the body 2 - 5 days after the fever starts. A second rash, which looks like the measles, appears later in the disease. Infected people may have increased skin sensitivity and are very uncomfortable.

Other symptoms include:

  • Headache (especially behind the eyes)
  • Fatigue
  • Joint aches
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Vomiting
Signs And Tests

Tests that may be done to diagnose this condition include:

  • Antibody titer for dengue virus types
  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Serology studies to look for antibodies to dengue viruses
Treatment

There is no specific treatment for dengue fever. You will need fluids if there are signs of dehydration. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is used to treat a high fever. Avoid taking aspirin.

Expectations (Prognosis)

The condition generally lasts a week or more. Although uncomfortable, dengue fever is not deadly. People with the condition should fully recover.

Complications
  • Febrile convulsions
  • Severe dehydration
Calling Your Health Care Provider

Call your health care provider if you have traveled in an area where dengue fever is known to occur and have developed symptoms of the disease.

Prevention

Clothing, mosquito repellent, and netting can help reduce exposure to mosquitoes. Traveling during periods of minimal mosquito activity can also be helpful.

Mosquito abatement programs may reduce the risk of infection.
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