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Alternative Names Return to topO'nyong-nyong fever; Dengue-like disease; Breakbone fever
Definition Return to top
Dengue fever is a virus-based disease spread by mosquitoes.
See also: Dengue hemorrhagic fever
Causes Return to top
Dengue fever is caused by several related viruses (four different arboviruses). It is spread by the bite of mosquitoes, most commonly the mosquito Aedes aegypti, which is found in tropic and subtropic regions. This includes parts of:
Dengue fever is being seen more in world travelers.
Dengue fever should not be confused with Dengue hemorrhagic fever, which is a separate disease that is often deadly.
Symptoms Return to top
Dengue fever begins with a sudden high fever, often as high as 104-105 degrees Fahrenheit.
A flat, red rash may appear over most of the body early during the fever. A second rash, which looks like the measles, appears later in the disease. Infected people may have increased skin sensitivity and are very uncomfortable.
Other symptoms include:
Exams and Tests Return to top
Tests that may be done to diagnose this condition include:
Treatment Return to top
There is no specific treatment for dengue fever. You will need fluids if there are signs of dehydration. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is used to treat a high fever. Avoid taking aspirin.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
The condition generally lasts a week or more. Although uncomfortable, it is not deadly.
Full recovery is expected.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you have travelled in an area where dengue fever is known to occur and have developed symptoms of the disease.
Prevention Return to top
Clothing, mosquito repellent, and netting can help reduce exposure to mosquitoes. Traveling during periods of minimal mosquito activity can also be helpful.
Mosquito abatement programs may reduce the risk of infection.
References Return to top
Naides SJ. Arthropod-borne viruses causing fever and rash syndromes. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 405.Update Date: 9/28/2008 Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.