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Dengue

Dengue fever and its more severe manifestations of Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) and Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS) are illnesses characterized by sudden onset of fever, headaches, body aches, rash, bleeding and even shock caused by the dengue virus and is spread by mosquitoes.

Where does it occur?

Dengue is seen in nearly all the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. The highest risks are in South East Asia, Indian subcontinent, South America, Caribbean islands, pacific islands and Africa. In these regions the risk is greatest at altitudes below 2000 feet (600m). Map

How is it transmitted?

The Aedes aegypti group of mosquitoes transmits dengue virus and they bite during daylight hours. Peak mosquito activity seems to be in the early morning and late afternoon and they are very prevalent indoors. The risk is highest during the rainy season.

Is it contagious from person to person?

No

What is the risk for travelers?

The risk is significant for travelers: especially for prolonged travel (greater than 2 weeks), in rural areas, during the rainy season or during an epidemic.

How soon after exposure will one develop symptoms?

One generally develops symptoms 1week after exposure.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Within a week of exposure one presents with sudden onset of flu like symptoms: high fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, loss of appetite and nausea. A red rash appears 3-5 day after the onset of fever and spreads from the chest and abdomen to the arms and legs. Once the rash appears, the illness begins to slowly resolve. Most people recover in a few days.

Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) has manifestations of bleeding on skin, gums and intestinal tract along with fever. Dengue Shock Syndrome (DHF) has manifestations of extremely low blood pressure and collapse. If untreated these can be fatal in 30-40% of the cases, but with good care mortality is less than 1%

The severe manifestations of DHF and DHS are usually seen with a second episode of dengue infection, not the first time you become ill with dengue. Travelers who have never had previous dengue infection are at low risk for DHF and DHS.

Is there any treatment?

There are no specific anti-viral treatments. Good supportive care is the mainstay. Avoid aspirin or non-steroidal products, which may contribute to bleeding.

Are there any lab tests to diagnose illness?

Blood antibody test to diagnose infection (IgM & IgG serology) usually become positive within 7 days of the onset of illness.

What preventive measures can be taken?

Take measures to avoid mosquito bites during the day and night by Staying in accommodations with screened windows and doors Using permethrin impregnated mosquito nets Wearing long sleeve shirts and pants and socks Using insect repellant containing DEET on exposed skin and clothing Using mosquito repellant coils in your room For more details go to our insect safety section.

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