Dengue is a disease caused by one of four dengue viruses (DENV1, DENV2, DENV3, or DENV4) and is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.
Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) is a more severe form of dengue that can be fatal if left untreated. With good medical treatment, mortality due to DHF can be less than 1%.
How is dengue and DHF spread?
Dengue is spread when a mosquito becomes infected by biting a person with the dengue virus in their blood. The mosquito can then spread the virus to other people by biting them. It cannot be spread between people.
What are the symptoms of dengue?
Symptoms of dengue include:
- High fever
- Severe headaches
- Severe pain behind the eyes
- Joint, muscle, and bone pain
- Mild bleeding, commonly in the nose or gums
- Easy bruising
Symptoms of DHF include:
- Severe fever for 2-7 days
- Similar symptoms of dengue
- Severe abdominal pains
- Difficulty breathing
- Circulatory system shock
How is dengue and DHF treated?
There is no specific treatment for dengue. People with dengue should use pain relievers with acetaminophen and should avoid using aspirin. Rest and plenty of fluids can help relieve symptoms. If you believe you have dengue, contact your healthcare provider. If you begin to experience symptoms similar to those of DHF after your fever subsides, seek medical treatment immediately.
There is no specific treatment for DHF. DHF can be managed with fluid replacement therapy and hospitalization.
Where is dengue most common?
Dengue occurs in areas where albopictus mosquitoes commonly live, usually in tropical and urban areas. The dengue virus can spread to new areas through travelers who visit places where dengue is common.
How can I prevent dengue?
- Eliminate possible breeding places. Remove areas where mosquitoes can lay eggs, such as places where water can accumulate (buckets, kiddie pools, tires, etc.).
- Discard water often. Discard water from pet dishes, flower pots, watering cans, and buckets a few times a week to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
- Prevent mosquitoes from entering your home. Use bug screens, air conditioning, and keep doors and windows closed.