Dengue: Causes, description, Treatment

Head | Emergency Medicine | Dengue (Disease)

Dengue: Description

Dengue fever is an acute illness of sudden onset that usually follows a benign course with symptoms such as headache, fever, exhaustion, severe muscle and joint pain, swollen glands (lymphadenopathy), and rash.

Causes and Risk factors

Dengue fever is a disease that is commonly caused by a family of viruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes. The presence (the dengue triad) of fever, rash, and headache (and other pains) is particularly characteristic of dengue. Other signs of dengue fever include bleeding gums, severe pain behind the eyes, and red palms and soles.

Dengue fever ranges in severity from a mild flu-like illness through to a severe disease. Dengue fever can develop into the more severe forms of the illness: dengue haemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome.

More severe, but less common, forms of the disease include dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome. Among these diseases, symptoms resemble those of dengue fever, but may progress to faintness, shock, and generalized bleeding.

Dengue: Treatment and Diagnosis

There is no specific treatment and no vaccine. The best way to protect against dengue fever is to avoid mosquito bites when in affected tropical and subtropical areas. The illness may last as long as 10 days, with recovery often taking two to four weeks.

For typical dengue, the treatment is purely concerned with relief of the symptoms. Rest and fluid intake for adequate hydration is important. Aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should only be taken under a doctors supervision because of the possibility of worsening bleeding complications. Acetaminophen and codeine may be given for severe headache and for joint and muscle pain (myalgia)

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