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 to 10 days after a bite from an infected mosquito.

What are the risk factors for dengue fever?

A number of factors increase your chances of contracting dengue fever and the serious complications of dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome. Risk factors include:

  • Living or traveling to warm subtropical and tropical areas of the world, including Central and South America, Africa, Southeast Asia, China, India, the Middle East, Australia, the Caribbean, and the South and Central Pacific

  • Being a child in a warm subtropical area with a previous history of dengue fever

Reducing your risk of dengue fever

An important measure that reduces the risk of dengue fever is controlling mosquito populations in warm subtropical and tropical areas of the world. You may be able to lower your risk when traveling or living in high-risk areas by:

  • Draining areas and objects that can hold standing water and become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, such as old tires, puddles, and bird baths

  • Wearing insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus

  • Wearing protective clothing that covers the whole body


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, Afri... Read more about dengue feverintroduction


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:


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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