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Alternative namesO'nyong-nyong fever; Dengue-like disease; Breakbone fever
DefinitionDengue fever is a mild viral illness transmitted by mosquitoes. It is characterized by fever, rash, and muscle and joint pains. See also Dengue hemorrhagic fever .
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Dengue fever is caused by several related viruses (four different arboviruses). It is transmitted by the bite of mosquitoes, most commonly Aedes aegypti, found in tropic and subtropic regions. This includes portions of Southeast Asia, the Indonesian archipelago into northeastern Australia, parts of sub-Saharan Africa, and parts of South and Central America.
Dengue fever begins with sudden onset of a high fever, often to 104 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, headache, and slightly later the appearance of severe joint and muscle pains.
A flat, red rash may appear over most of the body early during the fever. A second rash, measles-like in appearance, appears later in the disease. Infected people may have increased skin sensitivity and are very uncomfortable.
Dengue fever is being seen more in world travelers. It is generally self-limited and although uncomfortable is not fatal. Diagnosis may depend on a traveler telling his or her doctor of any visits to areas of the world where dengue fever is known to occur.
Dengue fever should not be confused with Dengue hemorrhagic fever, which is a separate disease and frequently fatal.
Signs and tests
Rehydration is necessary if dehydration is evident. The high fever can be treated with acetaminophen (avoid aspirin).
Full recovery is expected.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you have been traveling in an area where dengue fever is known to occur and have developed symptoms suggested above.
There is no vaccine currently available for dengue fever. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), research is underway for the development of a vaccine. However, the prediction is that there will not be a vaccine available for 5 to 10 years.
Using personal protection (clothing, mosquito repellent, netting, etc.) and traveling during periods of minimal mosquito activity can be helpful. Mosquito abatement programs may reduce the risk of infection, but vaccination is the only sure method of prevention.
Update Date: 8/15/2003Daniel Levy, M.D., Ph.D., Infectious Diseases, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT