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Dengue is a viral disease transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes mainly in tropical and subtropical areas of the world, with the greatest risks occurring in:
Dengue fever occurs most often in urban areas, but may be found in rural areas. Transmission of the virus, via Aedes mosquitoes, usually occurs during and shortly after the rainy season. These mosquitoes are most active during the day and are often found near human dwellings, often indoors.
Dengue fever may be confused with other infectious diseases such as influenza or malaria. Symptoms may include:
The illness may last up to 10 days, with recovery often taking two to four weeks.
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.
Because there is not a vaccine for dengue fever, travelers should:
When sleeping areas are not air conditioned or screened, the use of aerosol insecticides indoors and bednets are recommended.
Dengue fever infection is diagnosed by a special blood test to determine the presence of the virus or antibodies. See your physician if you become sick within a month of returning from travel in a tropical area, and be prepared to give your complete travel itinerary, so that the physician can evaluate the possibility that your symptoms were caused by a dengue infection.
Specific treatment will be determined by your physician based on:
The symptoms of dengue fever are generally treated with bed rest and fluids. Medications may be used to reduce fever, such as acetaminophen, but aspirin should be avoided.