Dengue viruses occur in most tropical areas of the
world. Dengue is common in Africa, Asia, the Pacific,
Australia, and the Americas. It is widespread in the Caribbean
basin. Dengue is most common in cities but can
be found in rural areas. It is rarely found in mountainous
areas above 4,000 feet.The mosquitoes that transmit dengue
live among humans and breed in discarded tires, flower
pots, old oil drums, and water storage containers close
to human dwellings. Unlike the mosquitoes that cause malaria,
dengue mosquitoes bite during the day.
are the signs and symptoms of dengue fever and dengue
Dengue fever usually starts suddenly with a high fever,
rash, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, and muscle
and joint pain. The severity of the joint pain has given
dengue the name "breakbone fever." Nausea, vomiting,
and loss of appetite are common. A rash usually appears
3 to 4 days after the start of the fever. The illness
can last up to 10 days, but complete recovery can take
as long as a month.
Older children and adults are usually
sicker than young children.Most dengue infections result
in relatively mild illness, but some can progress to dengue
With dengue hemorrhagic fever, the blood vessels start to leak and cause bleeding from the nose, mouth, and gums. Bruising can be a sign of bleeding inside the body. Without prompt treatment, the blood vessels can collapse, causing shock (dengue shock syndrome). Dengue hemorrhagic fever is fatal in about 5 percent of cases, mostly among children and young adults.
How soon after exposure do symptoms
The time between the bite of a mosquito carrying dengue
virus and the start of symptoms averages 4
to 6 days, with a range of 3 to 14 days. An infected person
cannot spread the infection to other persons but can be
a source of dengue virus for mosquitoes for about
can dengue be prevented?
There is no vaccine to prevent dengue. Prevention
centers on avoiding mosquito bites when traveling to areas
where dengue occurs and when in U.S. areas, especially
along the Texas-Mexico border, where dengue might occur.
Eliminating mosquito breeding sites in these areas is
another key prevention measure.Avoid mosquito bites when
traveling in tropical areas:Use mosquito repellents on
skin and clothing. When outdoors during times that mosquitoes are biting, wear
long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked
into socks. Avoid heavily populated residential areas.
When indoors, stay in air-conditioned or screened areas.
Use bednets if sleeping areas are not screened or air-conditioned.
If you have symptoms of dengue, report your travel history
to your doctor. Eliminate mosquito breeding sites in areas
where dengue might occur:Eliminate mosquito breeding sites
around homes. Discard items that can collect rain or run-off
water, especially old tires. Regularly change the water
in outdoor bird baths and pet and animal water containers.