Dengue Fever

Dengue Fever is another dangerous virus spread by mosquitoes.  It is a problem in many tropical and subtropical parts of the world, including Africa, Asia, South America and Australia.  Estimates suggest that around 100 million cases occur each year.

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 illness, Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever and Dengue Shock Syndrome.

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.

There are 4 different viruses under the “Dengue” banner, known as DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4.  All four viruses are capable of causing the complications of Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever and Dengue Shock Syndrome.

Symptoms of Dengue Fever

The typical signs and symptoms of uncomplicated Dengue Fever may include:

  • High temperature within one week of infection
  • Severe headache
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • Appetite loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Generally feeling unwell (malaise)
  • Skin rash that appears about four days after the onset of fever
  • Depression

In most cases, symptoms resolve within one to two weeks.  Some people, however, take longer to recover and may struggle with lethargy and depression for weeks or even months.

Symptoms of Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever

Although rare in Australia, Dengue Fever can sometimes develop into Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever.  Babies and young children are at increased risk of this complication.  Signs and symptoms may include:

  • All of the above symptoms of uncomplicated Dengue Fever
  • Bleeding under the skin, which causes purple bruises
  • Bleeding from the nose or gums
  • Liver problems
  • Heart problems

Symptoms of Dengue Shock Syndrome

A person with Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever may go on to develop Dengue Shock Syndrome.  Signs and symptoms may include:

  • All of the above symptoms of uncomplicated Dengue Fever and Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever
  • Severe bleeding
  • Extremely low blood pressure caused by blood loss (shock)
  • Coma
  • Death

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