Dengue fever can be caused by any one of four types of dengue virus.
You can get dengue virus infections from the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. Mosquitoes
become infected when they bite infected humans, and later transmit infection to other people they bite. Two main species of mosquito, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, have been responsible for all cases of dengue transmitted in this country. Dengue is not contagious from person to person.
Symptoms of typical uncomplicated (classic) dengue usually start with fever within 5 to 6 days after you have been bitten by an infected mosquito and include
★ High fever, up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit
★ Severe headache
★ Retro-orbital (behind the eye) pain
★ Severe joint and muscle pain
★ Nausea and vomiting
★ Marked damage to blood and lymph vessels
★ Bleeding from the nose, gums, or under the skin, causing purplish bruises
★ Fluids leaking outside of blood vessels
★ Massive bleeding
★ Shock (very low blood pressure)
Your health care provider can diagnose dengue fever by doing two blood tests, 2 to 3 weeks apart. The tests can show whether a sample of your blood contains antibodies to the virus. In epidemics, a health care provider often can diagnose dengue by typical signs and symptoms.
There is no specific treatment for classic dengue fever, and like most people you will recover completely within 2 weeks. To help with recovery, health care experts recommend
★ Getting plenty of bed rest
★ Drinking lots of fluids
★ Taking medicine to reduce fever CDC advises people with dengue fever not to take aspirin. Acetaminophen or other over-the-counter pain-reducing medicines are safe for most people.
The best way to prevent dengue fever is to take special precautions to avoid contact with mosquitoes. Several dengue vaccines are being developed, but none is likely to be licensed by the Food and Drug Administration in the next few years. When outdoors in an area where dengue fever has been found
★ Use a mosquito repellant containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus
★ Dress in protective clothing-long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes
Because Aedes mosquitoes usually bite during the day, be sure to use precautions especially during early morning hours before daybreak and in the late afternoon before dark. Other precautions include
★ Keeping unscreened windows and doors closed
★ Keeping window and door screens repaired
★ Getting rid of areas where mosquitoes breed, such as standing water in flower pots, containers, birdbaths, discarded tires, etc.
Most people who develop dengue fever recover completely within 2 weeks. Some, however, may go through several weeks to months of feeling tired and/or depressed.