DENGUE FEVER

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Alternative names:

chikungunya; dengue-like disease; O'nyong-nyong fever; West Nile fever 

Definition:

A mild viral illness transmitted by mosquitoes and characterized by fever, rash, and muscle and joint pains

Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Dengue fever is caused by several related viruses (four different arboviruses) and is transmitted by the bite of mosquitoes, most commonly Aedes aegypti, found in tropic and subtropic regions. Dengue fever presents with sudden onset of a high fever, often to 104 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, headache, and slightly later the appearance of joint and muscle pains. A flat (macular) red blanchable rash may appear over most of the body early during the fever. A second rash, measles-like in appearance, appears later in the disease. Affected people may have increased skin sensitivity and are very uncomfortable. 

Dengue fever is being seen more in world travelers. It is generally self limited and although uncomfortable is not fatal. Diagnosis may depend on a traveler telling his or her health care worker of any visits to areas of the world where Dengue fever is endemic. Dengue fever should not be confused with Dengue hemorrhagic fever, which is a separate disease entity and frequently has a fatal outcome.

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