Dengue Fever: Facts and Details
What is Dengue Fever?
Dengue (pronounced den’ gee) is an acute fever caused by a virus transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. It occurs in two forms, dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever.
Where can outbreaks of dengue occur?
Outbreaks of dengue occur primarily in areas where Aedes aegypti mosquitoes live. This includes most tropical urban areas of the world. Dengue viruses may be introduced into areas by travelers who become infected while visiting other areas of the tropics where dengue commonly exists. Dengue cannot be spread directly from person-to-person.
What are the symptoms of dengue fever?
- High fever
- Severe headache (mostly in the forehead)
- Pain behind the eyes which worsens with eye movement
- Body aches and joint pains
- Nausea or vomiting
What is the treatment for dengue?
There is no specific medication for treatment of dengue infection. Individuals who think they have dengue should use pain relievers with acetaminophen and avoid those containing aspirin. They should also rest, drink plenty of fluids, and contact a physician.
What is dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF)?
DHF is a more severe form of dengue in which bleeding and sometimes shock occurs. It can be fatal if unrecognized and not properly treated. Symptoms of bleeding usually occur after two to seven days of fever.
What are the signs and symptoms of dengue hemorrhagic fever?
- Severe and continuous pain in abdomen
- Bleeding from the nose, mouth and gums, or skin bruising
- Frequent vomiting with or without blood
- Black stools, like coal tar
- Excessive thirst
- Pale, cold skin
- Restlessness or sleepiness
Is there an effective treatment for DHF?
As with dengue, there is not specific medication for DHF. However, it can be effectively treated by fluid replacement therapy, if an early clinical diagnosis is made.
How can you prevent dengue and DHF?
No vaccine is available. Travelers should be advised that they can reduce their risk of getting this illness by doing the following:
- Remaining in well-screened or air-conditioned areas when possible
- Wearing clothing that adequately covers the arms and legs
- Applying insect repellent to both skin and clothing
For more information contact the Sedgwick County Health Department Epidemiology Office at 316-660-7392.