(Break Bone Fever)
by Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
Dengue fever is a viral infection.
An infected mosquito passes the virus to you through a bite on your skin. The virus enters the bloodstream and spreads throughout the body.
Your risk may be higher if you travel to:
Children and infants may have not have symptoms or may have flu-like symptoms. Adults may develop a more serious, life-threatening illness. The main symptoms are high fever and at least 2 from the list below:
The fever goes away within 3-7 days after symptoms start. This is when the warning signs of a serious infection may appear. These may include:
A serious infection can lead to shock and organ failure.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, and health and travel history. You will also have:
The goal of care is to ease symptoms while the body fights the virus. Care includes:
Talk to your doctor about the medicines you take. You should taking avoid aspirin and similar medicines because it may cause bleeding.
If you travel to areas where dengue fever is common:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
IDSA—Infectious Diseases Society of America
Public Health Agency of Canada
Travel Health and Safety
Dengue. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/dengue. Updated January 19, 2016. Accessed May 11, 2018.
Dengue. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116824/Dengue . Updated May 10, 2018. Accessed May 11, 2018.
Dengue. World Health Organization (WHO) website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed May 11, 2018.
Dengue fever. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niaid.nih.gov/search/niaidsite/dengue. Updated May 12, 2016. Accessed May 11, 2018.
Mosquito avoidance. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115142/Mosquito-avoidance . Updated November 21, 2016. Accessed May 11, 2018.
Reimer LJ, Thomsen EK, Tisch DJ, et al. Insecticidal bed nets and filariasis transmission in Papua New Guinea. N Eng J Med. 2013;369(8):745-753.
Last reviewed May 2018 by David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 5/11/2018
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