Dengue fever

Dengue (DENG-gey) fever is a mosquito-borne disease that occurs in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Mild dengue fever causes high fever, rash, and muscle and joint pain. A severe form of dengue fever, also called dengue hemorrhagic fever, can cause severe bleeding, a sudden drop in blood pressure (shock) and death.

Millions of cases of dengue infection occur worldwide each year. Dengue fever is most common in Southeast Asia and the western Pacific islands, but the disease has been increasing rapidly in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Researchers are working on dengue fever vaccines. For now the best prevention is to reduce mosquito habitat in areas where dengue fever is common.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

Many people, especially children and teens, may experience no signs or symptoms during a mild case of dengue fever. When symptoms do occur, they usually begin four to 10 days after you are bitten by an infected mosquito. Signs and symptoms of dengue fever most commonly include:

  • Fever, as high as 106 F (41 C)
  • Headaches
  • Muscle, bone and joint pain
  • Pain behind your eyes

You might also experience:

  • Widespread rash
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rarely, minor bleeding from your gums or nose

Most people recover within a week or so. In some cases, symptoms worsen and can become life-threatening. Blood vessels often become damaged and leaky. And the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your bloodstream drops. This can cause:

  • Bleeding from your nose and mouth
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Bleeding under the skin, which might look like bruising
  • Problems with your lungs, liver and heart

When to see a doctor

If you've recently visited a region in which dengue fever is known to occur and you suddenly develop a fever, see your doctor.

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