Dengue (pronounced DEN-gee) fever is a viral disease. It is transmitted by mosquitoes mainly in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. The disease is most common in:
Dengue fever happens most often in urban areas. But it may be found in rural areas. The mosquitoes that carry the virus usually pass it on during and shortly after the rainy season. The mosquitoes are most active during the day. They are found near human dwellings, often indoors. About half of the world's population is now at risk for this disease.
Dengue fever causes a severe flu-like illness. It may be look like other diseases such as the flu or malaria. The illness usually lasts 3 to 7 days. Symptoms may include:
A very small portion of people with dengue fever get a severe case. It’s called dengue hemorrhagic fever. Symptoms show up as the fever begins to ease. These may include vomiting that does not go away, rapid breathing, blood in vomit, and bleeding gums.
Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment for you based on:
Dengue fever is generally treated with supportive care such as pain relievers, bed rest and fluids. You may take acetaminophen to lower the fever. But you should not take aspirin, ibuprofen, or any NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug). In severe cases, you may need medical care right away from healthcare providers familiar with the disease. This can greatly cut the risk of death.
Severe dengue fever can be fatal if not treated right away. Other effects of severe dengue are:
There is no widely used or FDA-approved vaccine for dengue fever. Travelers should avoid mosquito bites by:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider: