Dengue fever is a viral infection. It can range from mild to severe and life-threatening,
An infected mosquito passes the virus through a bite to the skin. The virus enters the blood. It spreads throughout the body.
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The risk for dengue fever higher for those who live in or travel to:
- Southeast Asia
- Western Pacific
- Eastern Mediterranean
Some people do not have symptoms. Others may have a mild, flu-like illness. Symptoms may be:
- Fever and chills
- Headache or eye pain
- Muscle or bone pain
- Red or purple spots in skin
- Minor bleeding in the nose or gums
- Nausea or vomiting
Serious signs are:
- Severe belly pain
- Frequent vomiting
- Bleeding from the gums or nose that is hard to stop
- Black tarry stools or blood in the urine
- Tiredness or restlessness
- Problems breathing
- Pale, cold, or clammy skin
- Feeling faint
A serious infection can lead to shock and organ failure.
The doctor will ask about your symptoms, and health and travel history. A physical exam and blood tests may be done.
A tourniquet test may be done to check for bleeding under the skin. This test uses an inflated blood pressure cuff on the upper arm for 5 minutes.
Treatment depends on how severe the illness is. It may include rest and replacing fluids by mouth or IV.
In severe cases, a blood transfusion may be given.
The risk of infection may be reduced by mosquito control measures. A dengue vaccine is available in some countries.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov
IDSA—Infectious Diseases Society of America http://www.idsociety.org
Public Health Agency of Canada https://www.canada.ca
Travel Health and Safety https://travel.gc.ca
Dengue. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/dengue. Accessed February 1, 2021.
Dengue. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/dengue. Accessed February 1, 2021.
Dengue fever. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/dengue-fever . Accessed February 1, 2021.
Karesh J, Mazzoli R, et al. Ocular manifestations of mosquito-transmitted diseases. Military Medicine, 2018; 183 (S): 450-458.
Mosquito avoidance. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/prevention/mosquito-avoidance. Accessed February 1, 2021.
- Reviewer: David L. Horn, MD, FACP
- Review Date: 09/2021
- Update Date: 02/01/2021