Everything You Need to Know About Dengue

Updated at: Sep 24, 2013
Everything You Need to Know About Dengue

Dengue fever is a viral infection caused by dengue virus which is transmitted by mosquito bite.  It can be caused by any of four related dengue viruses (DENV-1 to DENV-4).

Dr Poonam Sachdev
Communicable DiseasesWritten by: Dr Poonam SachdevPublished at: May 17, 2011

Dengue fever (DF) is a viral infection caused by dengue virus which is transmitted by mosquito bite. It is not contagious, i.e., it does not spread from person to person.

DengueDengue fever can be caused by any of four related dengue viruses (DENV-1 to DENV-4). Dengue is transmitted to by the bite of Aedes aegypti mosquito (which bites during the day). Dengue fever is also referred to as "break-bone" fever because it can cause severe joint and muscle pain in some patients that feels like bones are breaking. Dengue fever occurs in the tropical and subtropical areas regions.

Dengue infection can vary in severity from mild acute febrile illness or can be even fatal. In some patients the virus can cause damage to the blood vessels that leads to leakage of fluid from the blood vessels (increase in vascular permeability) and bleeding problems known as dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF).


Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF)

DHF is a complication of the disease that can be fatal. It usually occurs if you have dengue infection more than once. The symptoms of DHF are similar to DF but the condition of the patient shows rapid deterioration a few days after the fever starts to decrease (usually 3–7 days after symptom onset). The patient may develop severe symptoms of disease like severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, marked change in temperature (from fever to hypothermia), and bleeding (from nose, mouth skin) or change in mental status (irritability, confusion, or obtundation). Most of the patients recover quickly following appropriate medical treatment.


Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS)

Some patients with DF/DHF can rapidly progress to severe shock, which can lead to death within 12 to 24 hours. Patients with DSS have all the signs and symptoms of DHF and their blood pressure is also low (hypotension). This is the most severe manifestation of dengue fever. Patient with DSS has excessive thirst, pale and cold skin (due to very low blood pressure), is restless and feels very weak or fatigued.


When to Seek Medical Assistance and Treatment

The disease causes sudden onset of fever, severe headache, severe pain in muscle and joint pains (myalgias and arthralgias). Consult you doctor if have these symptoms to diagnose the cause of your symptoms.

As of now, there is no medicine or treatment for dengue infection. In case of dengue fever, doctors prescribe fever medicines and pain relievers with acetaminophen. Besides, the patient is advised to rest and drink plenty of fluids.



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