What is the definition of Dengue Fever?

Dengue fever is a virus-caused disease that is spread by mosquitoes.

What are the alternative names for Dengue Fever?

O'nyong-nyong fever; Dengue-like disease; Breakbone fever

What are the causes for Dengue Fever?

Dengue fever is caused by 1 of 4 different but related viruses. It is spread by the bite of mosquitoes, most commonly the mosquito Aedes aegypti, which is found in tropic and subtropic regions. This area includes parts of:

  • Indonesian archipelago into northeastern Australia
  • South and Central America
  • Southeast Asia
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Some parts of the Caribbean (including Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands)

Dengue fever is rare in the US mainland, but has been found in Florida and Texas. Dengue fever should not be confused with dengue hemorrhagic fever, which is a separate disease caused by the same type of virus, but has much more severe symptoms.

What are the symptoms for Dengue Fever?

Dengue fever begins with a sudden high fever, often as high as 105°F (40.5°C), 4 to 7 days after the infection.

A flat, red rash may appear over most of the body 2 to 5 days after the fever starts. A second rash, which looks like the measles, appears later in the disease. Infected people may have increased skin sensitivity and are very uncomfortable.

Other symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache (especially behind the eyes)
  • Joint aches (often severe)
  • Muscle aches (often severe)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal stuffiness

What are the current treatments for Dengue Fever?

There is no specific treatment for dengue fever. Fluids are given if there are signs of dehydration. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is used to treat a high fever.

Avoid taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve). They may increase bleeding problems.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Dengue Fever?

The condition generally lasts a week or more. Although uncomfortable, dengue fever is not deadly. People with the condition should fully recover.

What are the possible complications for Dengue Fever?

Untreated, dengue fever may cause the following health problems:

  • Febrile convulsions
  • Severe dehydration

When should I contact a medical professional for Dengue Fever?

Call your health care provider if you have traveled in an area where dengue fever is known to occur and you have symptoms of the disease.

How do I prevent Dengue Fever?

Clothing, mosquito repellent, and netting can help reduce the risk for mosquito bites that can spread dengue fever and other infections. Limit outdoor activity during mosquito season, especially when they are most active, at dawn and dusk.



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Dengue. www.cdc.gov/dengue/index.html. Updated May 3, 2019. Accessed September 17, 2019.

Endy TP. Viral febrile illnesses and emerging pathogens. In: Ryan ET, Hill DR, Solomon T, Aronson NE, Endy TP, eds. Hunter's Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 36.

Thomas SJ, Endy TP, Rothman AL, Barrett AD. Flaviviruses (dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, West Nile encephalitis, Usutu encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, tick-borne encephalitis, Kyasanur forest disease, Alkhurma hemorrhagic fever, Zika). In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 153.

  • Condition: Viral Infection
  • Journal: Marine drugs
  • Treatment Used: Carrageenans
  • Number of Patients: 0
  • Published —
This article explored the effectiveness of carrageenans (food additive made from seaweed) in viral infections.
  • Condition: Dengue Virus (DENV)
  • Journal: Virologie (Montrouge, France)
  • Treatment Used: Antivirals
  • Number of Patients: 0
  • Published —
This review introduces the dengue virus (DENV) antivirals and discusses the direct acting antiviral versus host targeted antiviral.
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Not yet recruiting
  • Phase: Early Phase 1
  • Intervention Type: Drug, Other
  • Participants: 74
  • Start Date: October 1, 2021
Zanamivir Treatment of Vascular Permeability in Dengue (ZAP-DENGUE): A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Not yet recruiting
  • Phase: Phase 1
  • Intervention Type: Biological
  • Participants: 10
  • Start Date: September 1, 2021
A Study to Evaluate the Safety and Efficacy of PV-001-DV in Combination With Infusion of PV-001-DC in Patients With Advanced Melanoma