Dengue fever is a disease spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and is caused by one of four dengue viruses.
Once infected with one of the dengue virus, body will automatically develop immunity to that virus for the rest of the life. However, one can still be infected with the other three viruses.
It is possible to get all four dengue viruses in lifetime. The viruses that cause dengue fever are related to those that cause yellow fever and West Nile virus infection.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least 400 million cases of dengue fever occur across the globe every year. Tropical regions are heavily affected. Areas that have the greatest risk of infection include:
Very few cases occur in the United States. Commuters mostly diagnosed the disease while traveling abroad.
Dengue is transmitted via the bite of a mosquito harboring the dengue virus. Person-to-person transmission does not occur.
- Symptoms of Dengue Fever
- Diagnosis of Dengue Fever
- Treatment of Dengue Fever
- Complications of Dengue Fever
- Prevention of Dengue Fever
Dengue Fever Symptoms
Symptoms usually begin about 4 to 7 days after the initial infection. Young children and people who have never experienced infection may have a milder illness than older children and adults. Symptoms generally last for about 10 days and can include:
- Sudden, high fever (up to 106 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Severe headache
- Swollen lymph glands
- Severe joint and muscle pains
- Skin rash (appearing between two and five days after the initial fever)
- Nausea, vomiting
- Mild bleeding from the nose or gums
- Febrile convulsions
Diagnosis of Dengue Fever
Blood tests to check for viral antibodies or the presence of infection.
Treatment of Dengue Fever
Treating Dengue Fever
There is no medication or treatment specifically for dengue infection.
Your doctor should perform a medical exam, and you should rest and drink plenty of fluids.
Complications of Dengue
A small percentage of individuals who have dengue fever can develop a more serious form of the disease known as dengue hemorrhagic fever.
Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever
The risk factors for developing dengue hemorrhagic fever include:
Having antibodies to dengue virus from a previous infection
- Being under the age of 12
- Being female
- Weak immune system
Rare characteristics of disease:
- High fever
- Damage to the lymphatic system
- Damage to blood vessels
- Bleeding from the nose
- Bleeding from the gums
- Liver enlargement
- Circulatory system failure
The symptoms of dengue hemorrhagic fever can trigger dengue shock syndrome. Dengue shock syndrome is severe and can lead to excessive bleeding and even death.
Prevention of Dengue Fever
There is no vaccine to prevent dengue. The best method of protection is to avoid mosquito bites and to reduce the mosquito population. When in a high-risk area, you should:
Avoid heavily populated residential areas
Use mosquito repellent indoors and outdoors
Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants tucked into socks
Use air conditioning instead of opening windows
Ensure that window and door screens are secure,
Use mosquito nets if sleeping areas are not screened
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