Dengue fever is a painful, debilitating mosquito-borne disease caused by any one of four closely related dengue viruses. These viruses are related to the viruses that cause West Nile infection and yellow fever. Dengue fever symptoms typically begin three to fourteen days after infection and may include a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash. Usually the high fever reaches a temperature of 41 degrees, typical for inflaminatory and fever diseases. The patients may also experience dengue fever symptoms of widespread rash, nausea and vomiting and rarely, minor bleeding from your gums or nose.
Most people recover within a week or so. In some cases, symptoms worsen and can become life-threatening. Blood vessels often become damaged and leaky. And the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your bloodstream drops.
Development of the dengue fever may cause bleeding from your nose and mouth, severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting and problems with lungs, liver and heart.
Dengue is spread by several species of mosquito of the Aedes type, principally A. aegypti. The virus has five different types – infection with one type usually gives lifelong immunity to that type, but only short-term immunity to the others. Subsequent infection with a different type increases the risk of severe complications. A number of tests are available to confirm the diagnosis including detecting antibodies to the virus or its RNA.
Dengue fever is found throughout the world, but mainly occurs in tropical and subtropical areas. It is widespread in regions of Africa, Central and South America, the Caribbean, the Eastern Mediterranean, South and Southeast Asia, and Oceania.
Diagnosing dengue fever can be difficult, because its signs and symptoms can be easily confused with those of other diseases — such as malaria, leptospirosis and typhoid fever. Certain laboratory tests can detect evidence of the dengue viruses, but test results usually come back too late to help direct treatment decisions.