font size


Dengue Fever

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

Dengue fever facts

  • Dengue fever is a disease caused by a family of viruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes.
  • Symptoms include as severe joint and muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes, headache, fever, exhaustion, and rash. The presence of fever, rash, and headache (the "dengue triad") is characteristic of dengue fever.
  • Dengue is prevalent throughout the tropics and subtropics.
  • Because dengue fever is caused by a virus, there is no specific medicine or antibiotic to treat it. For typical dengue fever, the treatment is directed toward relief of the symptoms (symptomatic treatment).
  • The acute phase of the illness with fever and myalgias lasts about one to two weeks.
  • Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) is a specific syndrome that tends to affect children under 10 years of age. It causes abdominal pain, hemorrhage (bleeding), and circulatory collapse (shock).
  • The prevention of dengue fever requires control or eradication of the mosquitoes carrying the virus that causes dengue.
  • There is currently no vaccine for dengue fever.

What is dengue fever?

Dengue fever is a disease caused by a family of viruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes. It is an acute illness of sudden onset that usually follows a benign course with symptoms such as headache, fever, exhaustion, severe muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy), and rash. The presence of fever, rash, and headache (the "dengue triad") is particularly characteristic of dengue. Other signs of dengue fever include bleeding gums, severe pain behind the eyes, and red palms and soles.

Dengue (pronounced DENG-gay) can affect anyone but tends to be more severe in people with compromised immune systems. Because it is caused by one of five serotypes of virus, it is possible to get dengue fever multiple times. However, an attack of dengue produces immunity for a lifetime to that particular viral serotype to which the patient was exposed.

Dengue goes by other names, including "breakbone" or "dandy fever." Victims of dengue often have contortions due to the intense joint and muscle pain, hence the name breakbone fever. Slaves in the West Indies who contracted dengue were said to have dandy fever because of their postures and gait.

Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a more severe form of the viral illness. Symptoms include headache, fever, rash, and evidence of hemorrhage in the body. Petechiae (small red or purple splotches or blisters under the skin), bleeding in the nose or gums, black stools, or easy bruising are all possible signs of hemorrhage. This form of dengue fever can be life-threatening and can progress to the most severe form of the illness, dengue shock syndrome.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/23/2013

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Dengue Fever - Describe Your Experience Question: Please describe your experience with dengue fever.
Dengue Fever - Symptoms Question: What symptoms and signs did you experience with dengue fever?
Dengue Fever- Treatment Question: Since it's a virus, what type of treatment did you receive to relieve symptoms associated with dengue fever?
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/dengue_fever/article.htm

Women's Health

Find out what women really need.

advertisement
advertisement
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations