What is dengue fever?

Dengue fever, also called dengue, is a potentially serious disease caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes. There are four types of dengue viruses that can cause illness in humans.

Dengue fever is rare in the United States but common and a serious public health threat in warm subtropical and tropical areas of the world. These include areas of Central and South America, Africa, Southeast Asia, China, India, the Middle East, Australia, the Caribbean, and the South and Central Pacific.

Dengue fever is most common in urban areas in which outbreaks occur frequently during the rainy season when mosquitoes breed heavily in standing water. In some areas of Asia, complications of the disease are a leading cause of serious illness and death in children (Source: CDC). 

Most people can recover from dengue fever, but in some cases dengue fever can lead to serious complications, including hemorrhage and shock.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you know, have been diagnosed with dengue fever and develop bleeding symptoms or a change of consciousness.


What are the symptoms of dengue fever?

The symptoms of dengue fever can closely resemble symptoms of influenza (flu). Symptoms may vary in character and severity between individuals. Symptoms typically develop rapidly and can be severe:


What causes dengue fever?

Dengue viruses are transmitted between humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes pick up the dengue virus when they bite a human who is infected with the virus. The mosquito then carries the virus in its own blood and spreads it when it bites other humans.

After a dengue virus enters the human bloodstream, it spreads throughout the body. Symptoms appear in about eight... Read more about dengue fevercauses


How is dengue fever treated?

There is no cure for dengue fever or vaccine to prevent the disease. Hospitalization in intensive care is required for people who develop dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome. Most healthy people who get dengue fever will recover in about two weeks to one month by:

  • Getting plenty of rest

  • Increasing fluid intake

    Read more about dengue fevertreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Infections and Contagious Diseases

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