What is Dengue Fever?
Symptoms of the disease are a high fever that begins within 4 to 7 days of being bitten by
an infected mosquito, a severe headache, pain behind the eye, severe joint and muscle pain, nausea and vomiting, a
rash and also an inability to clot blood properly due to low platelet count from internal bleeding.
Dengue fever is a vector-borne disease. A vector-borne disease is one in which a pathogenic microorganism
is transmitted from one individual to another by a arthropod or other agent like an animal. Arthropods are insects,
spiders, centipedes, shrimp, and crayfish.
Symptoms of the disease are a high fever that begins within 4 to 7 days of being bitten by an infected mosquito,
a severe headache, pain behind the eye, severe joint and muscle pain, nausea and vomiting, a rash and also an
inability to clot blood properly due to low platelet count from internal bleeding. The rash appears over most of
the body approximately 3 or 4 days after the fever began. The rash then subsides after 1 or 2 days. A second rash
may appear a few days after the first one disappears.
The diagnosis for dengue fever is made using two blood tests done 2 to 3 weeks apart. When there is an epidemic
of dengue fever, there is usually no time for blood tests and physicians will make the diagnosis solely on
Recovery from dengue fever is about 2 weeks from onset. The patient is usually told to get plenty of bed rest,
drink lots of fluids and take medicine to reduce the fever. The Center for Disease Control has advised individuals
to not take aspirin for fever reduction, and that acetaminophen or other over-the-counter pain-reducing medicines
are safer for most individuals to take.
Severe forms of dengue involve symptoms of shock, coma, and possibly death. It is imperative that if these
symptoms should start to show that the individual be taken to an emergency room immediately. In the emergency room
they will use electrolyte replacement therapy to save the individual's life.
The best way to prevent the spread of dengue fever is to eliminate the risks that mosquitoes pose by using
insect repellent that contain DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Use protective clothing that includes
long sleeves, long pants, socks and shoes. The Aedes mosquitoes usually bite during the day; it is imperative that
you are especially careful to avoid mosquitoes during the day. You can also keep all unscreened windows and doors
closed, spray screens with insect repellent, use a bedding net while sleeping and to eliminate all areas that
mosquitoes can use to breed in such as standing water, containers with standing water such as birdbaths and
The majority of individuals who contract dengue fever recover completely within 2 weeks of onset. Depression or
extreme tiredness may set in and last for a few weeks or months after onset of the disease.
Complications from severe cases include hemorrhagic fever, dengue shock syndrome, vascular (blood vessel)
damage, liver damage - all of which can be life threatening.
Scientists are trying to develop vaccines for dengue fever. Research is being done to prevent dengue viruses
from reproducing inside mosquitoes.
Dengue fever is a global threat. Scientist still do not know how the virus infects the cells and cause the
New research is currently being done to try to understand how the virus interacts with humans.