Dengue Fever
Last Updated: 20 February 2023

Dengue is a viral infection transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes (female Aedes aegpti mosquitoes). Dengue outbreaks are occurring in many countries of the world in the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the Pacific Islands, thus putting almost half of world population at risk.

Risk & Prevention

  • Anyone who lives in or travels to an area with risk of dengue is at risk for infection. Before you travel, find country-specific travel information to help you plan and pack.
  • The best preventive measure is to eliminate the mosquitoes’ egg laying sites. Items that collect rainwater or are used to store water should be covered or properly discarded. The remaining essential containers should be emptied and cleaned and scrubbed (to remove eggs) at least once a week.
  • Other precautionary measures for travelers to prevent dengue include using anti-mosquito sprays or lotions, and sleeping under a permethrin-treated bed net.

Symptoms & Treatment

  • Dengue should be suspected when a high fever (40°C/104°F) is accompanied by two of the following symptoms during the febrile phase (2-7 days):
    • Severe headache
    • Pain behind the eyes
    • Muscle and joint pains
    • Nausea & vomiting
    • Swollen glands
    • Rash
  • Severe dengue can occur 3-7 days after illness onset when a small portion of patients may experience a sudden deterioration of symptoms which may include:
    • Severe abdominal pain
    • Persistent vomiting
    • Rapid breathing
    • Bleeding gums or nose
    • Fatigue
    • Restlessness
    • Liver enlargement
    • Blood in vomit or stool
  • Since dengue can present similar to many other diseases, it is important to seek medical care early for testing, examination and treatment.
  • There is no specific treatment for dengue fever. Patients should rest, stay hydrated and seek medical advice. Depending on the clinical presentation, patients may be sent home, be referred for in-hospital management, or require emergency treatment and urgent referral.

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