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Dengue Fever

What is Dengue Fever?

Dengue fever is an infectious disease carried by mosquitoes. It is found mostly during and shortly after the rainy season in tropical and subtropical areas of:

  • Africa
  • Southeast Asia and China
  • India
  • Middle East
  • Caribbean and Central and South America
  • Australia and the South and Central Pacific

Dengue fever was previously 'break-bone fever' because it sometimes causes severe joint and muscle pain.

What are the Symptoms of Dengue Fever?

Symptoms of typical uncomplicated dengue usually start within 5 to 6 days after a person has been bitten by an infected mosquito. Some common symptoms are:

  • High fever
    • The fever may reach 105 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Severe headache
  • Pain behind the eye
  • Severe joint pain
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Rash
    • The rash may appear over most of the body 3 to 4 days after the fever begins.
    • A second rash may appear later in the disease
  • Vomiting

What Causes Dengue Fever?

Dengue fever can be caused by any one of four types of dengue virus: DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4. Infection with one virus does not protect a person against infection with another.

A person can be infected by at least two, if not all four types of the dengue virus at different times during a life span, but only once by the same type.

How is Dengue Fever Transmitted?

People contract dengue fever from the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they bite infected humans, and later transmit infection to other people they bite.

How is Dengue Fever Diagnosed?

A doctor can diagnose dengue fever by performing a blood test. The test will show whether the blood sample contains dengue virus or antibodies to the virus.

Can Dengue Fever be Treated?

Yes. Your doctor will prescribe medicines to help relieve your symptoms.

Complications of Dengue Fever

If not treated properly, dengue hemorrhagic fever may occur. Dengue hemorrhagic fever is severe and often fatal.

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