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You are here: Home » eGM Resources » Health News of the Day » Diseases & Conditions Facing the Survivors & Relief Efforts in Southeast Asia » Dengue Fever

Dengue Fever

Description: Dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) are viral diseases transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, usually Ae. aegypti . The four dengue viruses (DEN-1 through DEN-4) are immunologically related, but do not provide cross-protective immunity against each other.

Occurence: Dengue, a rapidly expanding disease in most tropical and subtropical areas of the world, has become the most important arboviral disease of humans. More than 2.5 billion persons now live in areas at risk of infection, and an estimated 50 million–100 million cases of dengue fever occur each year, 200,000–500,000 of which are DHF. The case-fatality rate for DHF averages 5%. Epidemics caused by all four virus serotypes have become progressively more frequent and larger in the past 20 years. As of 2002, dengue fever is endemic in most tropical countries of the South Pacific, Asia, the Caribbean, the Americas, and Africa.

Clinical Presentation: Dengue fever is characterized by sudden onset after an incubation period of 3–14 days (most commonly 4–7 days), high fever, severe frontal headache, and joint and muscle pain. Many patients have nausea, vomiting, and rash. The rash appears 3–5 days after onset of fever and can spread from the torso to the arms, legs, and face. The disease is usually self-limited, although convalescence can be prolonged. Many cases of nonspecific viral syndrome or even subclinical infection occur, but dengue can also present as a severe, sometimes fatal hemorrhagic disease called DHF.

Preventions: No vaccine is available.

Treatment: Acetaminophen products are recommended for managing fever. Acetylsalicyclic acid (aspirin) and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory agents (such as ibuprofen) should be avoided because of their anticoagulant properties. Patients should be encouraged to rest and take abundant fluids. In severe cases, the prompt infusion of intravenous fluids is necessary to maintain adequate blood pressure. Because shock may develop suddenly, vital signs must be monitored frequently. Hypotension is a more frequent complication of DHF than severe hemorrhage.

source: CDC Dengue Fever Health Information
-- Gary Clark, Duane Gubler, Jose Rigau


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