Dengue (say "DEN-gee" or "DEN-gay") fever is a disease caused by a virus that is carried by mosquitos. Mild cases cause a rash and flu-like symptoms. Some people, especially children, can get more serious forms of the illness, known as dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome.
Dengue fever is spread through the bite of mosquitoes that carry the virus. The virus cannot spread from person to person through casual contact. People who have dengue fever should be protected from mosquito bites. If a mosquito bites an infected person, the mosquito becomes infected with the virus and can pass it to other people.
Outbreaks are common in many countries in Latin America and Southeast Asia. The disease also occurs in Africa, parts of the Middle East, the Western Pacific, Puerto Rico, and other tropical and subtropical areas.1 Travelers visiting these regions may become infected.
Symptoms of dengue fever may be mild or severe. In mild cases, common symptoms include:
If you have symptoms of dengue fever, see your doctor or go to the hospital right away.
There is no medicine for treating dengue fever. Mild cases may be treated at home with rest and plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. You may take paracetamol (Panadol) for pain. But don't take anti-inflammatory medicines like aspirin, ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin), or naproxen (such as Aleve). They may increase the risk of bleeding. People with mild cases of dengue fever usually feel better within 2 weeks.
Dengue hemorrhagic fever, the more serious form of dengue fever, usually requires treatment in a hospital. You may need intravenous (IV) fluids to treat dehydration. You also may need a blood transfusion to replace lost blood. You will be closely watched for signs of shock.
There is no vaccine to prevent dengue fever. And people who have had it before can get it again. If you plan to travel to an area where dengue fever is common, make sure to protect yourself against mosquito bites. Here are some guidelines:
Wear protective clothing (long pants and long-sleeved shirts). Use insect repellent with DEET (N,Ndiethylmetatoluamide). The repellent is available in varying strengths up to 100%. For young children, use a product containing less than 24% strength, otherwise too much of the chemical can be absorbed through the child's skin. Spray clothing with an insect repellent containing permethrin or DEET, because mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing. (Be aware that DEET can damage plastic items, such as watch crystals or eyeglass frames, and some synthetic fabrics.) Use bed nets (mosquito netting) sprayed with or soaked in an insecticide such as permethrin or deltamethrin. Use flying-insect spray indoors around sleeping areas.Take a fertility test today