Dengue Fever

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Dengue Fever
Dengue Fever
Video: Dengue Fever
Video: Dengue Fever | Pathophysiology, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment 2023, February

Dengue fever

Dengue fever is one of the most widespread and most commonly transmitted febrile infections. It is an infectious tropical disease caused by arboviruses of the genus Flavivirus. Mosquitoes serve as carriers.


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Pathogen: Flavivirus, several types of virus.

Distribution: Middle to Far East, Australia, Oceania, Africa, South and Central America, isolated southern states of the USA. Dengue is becoming a growing problem in many tropical and subtropical parts of the world, with the number of cases increasing rapidly. This also increases the risk for travelers. In Austria, 85 cases of the dengue virus were registered in 2017.

Transmission: diurnal and nocturnal mosquitoes (including tiger mosquitoes); they prefer to stay in settlement areas.

Incubation period: two to seven days.

Symptoms: asymptomatic or very mild febrile illness in 80% of cases. Typical gradients:

  • classic dengue fever: starts abruptly with a high fever, muscle, head, eye and back pain. In addition, there are often abdominal pain, vomiting and anxious depressive moods. A measles-like rash often occurs after a day or two and disappears after a day or two. As a rule, the symptoms subside after five to seven days; in some cases, after the first fever, the fever occurs again, combined with extreme muscle and joint pain and a new rash. Then the patient recovers completely.
  • Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS): typical secondary diseases with a different dengue virus type. After an initial infection, the organism develops antibodies and thus immunity against the virus type that causes it. However, if there is a second infection with another type of virus, the antibodies cannot fight it. On the contrary: they lead to a kind of false reaction of the immune system and thus to a massive course of the disease. This is associated with a tendency to bleed, vascular damage and acute circulatory failure and can be fatal.

Note Travelers who have already survived a dengue infection should definitely contact a travel doctor before starting their journey to dengue-endemic areas, as a second infection can result in a more severe clinical picture.

Therapy (symptomatic): lowering the fever, relieving pain, monitoring the patient. There is no causal treatment.

Note During the acute phase of a dengue infection, salicylates (such as Aspirin®) must never be used to reduce fever: These can increase a bleeding tendency and thus negatively affect the course of the disease.

Prevention: Consistent mosquito repellent (insect repellent). There are currently no commercially available vaccines for travelers.

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