Dengue is a virus spread by mosquito bites. If you live in or travel to a tropical or sub-tropical area, protect yourself by preventing mosquito bites.
Each year, an estimated 390 million people are infected with dengue virus. Outbreaks have occurred in Southeast Asia, the Western Pacific, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Americas, the Caribbean, and Africa.
Signs and symptoms of dengue
Most people infected have mild or no symptoms. About 1 in 4 people infected with dengue will get sick. Mild symptoms of dengue may be confused with other illnesses that cause fever and flu-like illness. Most people will recover after about one week.
The most common symptoms are fever and one or more of the following symptoms:
- Eye pain (typically behind the eyes)
- Muscle, joint, or bone pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Unusual bleeding (nose or gum bleed, small red spots under the skin, or unusual bruising)
Severe dengue is an emergency. Recognize the warning signs.
- Warning signs: Watch for signs and symptoms of severe dengue to develop 24-48 hours after fever goes away. If you or a family member develops any of these warning signs, go to a local clinic or emergency room immediately:
- Severe stomach pain or vomiting (at least 3 vomiting episodes within 24 hours)
- Bleeding from the nose or gums
- Vomiting blood or blood in the stool
- Drowsiness or irritability
- Pale, cold, or clammy skin
- Difficulty breathing
How to prevent dengue
- No vaccine to prevent, or medicine to treat, infection is available.
- Mosquitoes that spread dengue bite during the day. Avoid infection by preventing mosquito bites.
- Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water, such as tired, buckets, planters, toys, or trash containers. Check inside and outside your home.
If you think you may have dengue
- See your healthcare provider.
- Your healthcare provider may order tests to look for dengue or similar viruses, like chikungunya or Zika.
If you are sick with dengue
- Take acetaminophen or paracetamol to control fever and relieve pain. Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen.
- Get plenty of rest and drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
- During the first week of infection, dengue virus can be found in your blood. If a mosquito bites you, it can become infected and spread the virus to other people through bites. To help prevent others from getting sick, protect yourself from mosquito bites during the first week of illness.
- Rest in a screened or air-conditioned room or under a bed net while you have a fever.