What Do You Know About Dengue Fever (Break bone Fever)?


What Do You Know About Dengue Fever (Break bone Fever)?

Dengue fever also known as break bone fever is a pandemic-prone viral disease widespread throughout the tropics. Although dengue is more common in poor urban areas, suburbs and the countryside, it also affects more affluent areas in tropical and subtropical countries.

Dengue is a viral infection caused by a mosquito bite often resulting in a severe flu-like illness. However sometimes it may cause a potentially lethal complication called severe dengue or dengue haemorrhagic fever.

How Does Dengue Virus Spread and become pandemic?

Dengue virus is spread through the bites of infected Aedes species mosquitoes (Ae. aegypti or Ae. Albopictus etc.). The primary vector of the dengue virus is the species Aedes aegypti, mosquito species have limited ability to spread the virus. The role of mosquito is of a transmitter (or vector) and humans as the main victim and source of infection. Dengue virus cannot be spread directly from one person to another, mosquitoes are necessary to transmit the dengue virus. When a mosquito bites an individual who is infected with dengue virus, the mosquito becomes infected with the virus, and will later transmit that virus to healthy individuals by biting them. The incidence of dengue has increased manifold in last few decades. It is a fast emerging pandemic-prone viral disease.

Dengue is common throughout the tropical regions, and the risk of widespread outbreaks depends on lack of sanitation, ineffective mosquito control, local spatial variations of rainfall, relative humidity, temperature and degree of urbanization etc.

What are the Types of Dengue Virus?

There are four types of dengue virus (DEN) serotypes (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4) which belong to the genus Flavivirus, family Flaviviridae. These four serotypes of dengue virus exhibit highly genetic variability and distinct genotypes have been identified within each serotype. Among the four serotypes, “Asian” genotypes of DEN-2 and DEN-3 are often associated with severe disease leading to secondary dengue infections.

Dengue Symptoms:

Dengue symptoms vary from mild to severe and usually manifests 4 to 7 days after the mosquito bite and typically last 3 to 10 days. Usually one in four people infected with dengue will fall sick. Severe symptoms results into dengue shock syndrome (DSS) and dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF).

Common Symptoms:

  • Body ache ( Muscular and joints pain)
  • Body rashes
  • High grade fever
  • Severe headache
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Stomach discomfort-vomiting and nausea

Under severe conditions patient may experience following which requires emergency hospitalization and treatment. One is more likely to develop severe symptoms if they have had a prior history of dengue infection. People with low immunity, pregnant women and infants are more prone to develop severe dengue.

Symptoms of Severe Dengue:

  • Abdominal pain, tenderness
  • Vomiting (at least 3 times in 24 hours)
  • Bleeding from the mouth, nose and/ or gums
  • Blood in vomiting ,Black colour stool or  blood in the stool
  • Restless, or irritable
  • Skin rashes
  • Hypotension
  • Disorientation


  • Treatment includes management of symptoms.
  • Mild dengue can be effectively managed by preventing dehydration, and oral medications to control fever etc.
  • Light diet  and liquid fluid improves dehydration and weakness
  • Severe forms of dengue fever requires hospitalization for intravenous (IV) fluid ,blood transfusion, for patients with severe dehydration


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