Dengue Fever (Breakbone, Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever)

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease caused by one type of dengue virus. Dengue virus is found in many tropical parts of the world including the Caribbean, Central and South America, Asia and Africa. Though cases originating in the United States are rare, however outbreaks have been reported in Texas and Florida.


You may be sick within five to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. But the range can be three to 14 days.

Symptoms include:

  • High fever
  • Severe headache
  • Backache
  • Joint pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Eye pain
  • Rash

Rarely, dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) can occur. DHF begins with a fever that lasts from two to seven days and includes nausea, vomiting, severe abdominal pain and headache. You may then experience bleeding from the nose or gums, and possibly internal bleeding. Circulatory failure and shock may occur, which can lead to death if untreated.


To limit exposure:

  • Do not travel to risky areas.
  • Use protective clothing, mosquito netting and repellents.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The virus is diagnosed by a blood test.

There is no specific treatment available. If you are infected with the virus, you may receive medications to help relieve your symptoms. Intravenous fluids and oxygen therapy are often used for patients who experience shock during their illness.

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