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Dengue fever


Disease: Dengue fever Dengue fever
Category: Infectious diseases

Disease Definition:

Ranging from mild to severe, 4 related viruses distributed by a certain mosquito is the cause of dengue fever. High fever, rash, and muscle and joint pain are the results of mild dengue fever.  Severe bleeding, a sudden drop in blood pressure (shock) and death are the results of severe forms of the disease like dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome.


Although most people recover from dengue fever, but this illness doesn't have a specific treatment. However, a hospital stay will be necessary in case someone has the severe form of this disease.


Each year, fifty million to one hundred million cases of dengue fever occurs worldwide. In the urban areas of tropical and subtropical regions is where most cases of dengue fever occur.

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Symptoms, Causes


Four to seven days after being bitten by a mosquito carrying a dengue virus, the signs and symptoms of this disease start showing, and may vary depending on the form of the disease. Although more severe forms of the disease become worse after several days, but they begin the same way as the mild form.


Some of the typical signs and symptoms of dengue fever are:


  • Severe backache, headache or both
  • A high fever which may reach up to 105 F
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe joint and muscle pain
  • A rash that occurs over most of the body, subsides after a couple of days and then appears again. 
  • Pain behind the eyes


The symptoms of dengue fever start getting better in five to seven days, however, in some very rare cases, dengue fever may result in death.


Listed below are some of the conditions that dengue hemorrhagic fever may cause:


  • A decrease in the number of platelets
  • Significant damage to the blood and lymph vessels
  • Bleeding from the nose, mouth and under the skin, which creates the appearance of bruising
  • Death


The most severe form of the disease is called dengue shock syndrome and may cause heavy bleeding, a sudden drop in blood pressure (shock), leakage of blood vessel fluid (plasma), and death.


Usually, between the third and seventh day of the illness and after the fever has improved, the signs and symptoms mentioned above start appearing. Disorientation, severe abdominal pain and frequent vomiting may be experienced before the symptoms appear. Death occurs in 2 to 5% of people with the severe form of this disease; however, this risk is decreased by modern supportive hospital care.


A long period of listlessness, depression and fatigue may be experienced during recovery from dengue fever.


Any of the four dengue viruses spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito cause dengue fever. Thriving in and near human habitations, these mosquitoes breed in even the cleanest water.


The virus is transmitted back and forth between humans by mosquitoes. The virus will enter the mosquito's bloodstream when it bites a person who is infected with a dengue virus. Before the virus settles in the salivary glands, in circulates in the mosquito’s bloodstream. After that, when the mosquito bites another person, the virus will enter the person's bloodstream and cause serious illness.


Someone may become infected with dengue fever multiple times. When someone who has had dengue fever becomes exposed to a different kind of the four dengue viruses than the one to which he/she was previously exposed, he/she may develop dengue fever again. Dengue hemorrhagic fever, which is the more severe form of this disease, is usually the result of a second infection.



Within five to fourteen days, people usually recover from dengue fever. After being infected, some people, especially adults, may feel tired, listless and depressed.


Dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome may result in case dengue fever is severe, causing heavy bleeding, shock and in about 2 to 5%, death. Blood vessel, liver and brain damage as well as seizures may be caused in people who survive dengue shock syndrome.


Dengue fever doesn't have a specific treatment.


The patient may be recommended drinking enough fluids to avoid dehydration from high fever and vomiting in case he/she has the mild form of the disease. To relieve pain and fever, the patient can take acetaminophen. Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen sodium and ibuprofen increase the risk of bleeding complications, which means that they should be avoided.


Treatment will consist of supportive care in the hospital in case the patient has the more severe form of the disease. In this case, supportive care means replacing blood loss, maintaining adequate blood pressure, intravenous fluids and electrolyte replacement.


In order to avoid transmitting the disease to others, people with dengue fever should be kept away from mosquitoes.


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