Skip to main content
Disease

Dengue fever

Page last updated on 28 February 2019

Dengue fever is a disease caused by one of four dengue viruses that infects over 100 million people each year. It is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito and causes fever, aches, pains, rashes and bleeding. A severe form of the disease can be fatal if not treated in a timely manner.

Key disease information

What is dengue fever?

A small proportion of cases can progress to severe dengue (sometimes called dengue haemorrhagic fever). A rapid deterioration can occur 2-5 days after onset of fever. The complications of severe dengue fever can lead to collapse and can be fatal. Anyone showing symptoms of dengue fever should see a doctor as soon as possible.

How is dengue fever spread?

While dengue fever cannot be spread from person to person, the disease can be spread by the bite of certain types of (infected) mosquitoes. These mosquitoes are commonly found in tropical areas around the world.

Is dengue fever contagious?

Dengue fever is not spread from person to person, but is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.

What are the symptoms of dengue fever?

The symptoms of dengue fever are high fever and at least two of the following:

  • Severe headache
  • Severe eye pain
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle and/or bone pain
  • Rash
  • Mild bleeding (e.g. from gums)
  • Low white blood cell count

A small proportion of cases can progress to severe dengue (sometimes called dengue haemorrhagic fever). A rapid deterioration can occur 2-5 days after onset of fever. The complications of severe dengue can lead to collapse and can be fatal.

Anyone showing symptoms of dengue should see a doctor as soon as possible.

How can dengue fever be prevented?

Talk to your doctor about ways to prevent infection with dengue fever. These will include measures to avoid being bitten by mosquito, which can bite during the daytime or at night:

  • use mosquito coils or plug-in mosquito repellent devices inside
  • sleep in screened/air-conditioned rooms
  • use bed nets if you can’t keep the mosquitoes outside
  • cover as much skin as possible, wear long-sleeved, light-coloured clothing and cover your feet
  • use insect repellent containing DEET (diethyl toluamide) or picaridin and reapply according to the instructions on the label.

For more information regarding dengue fever, speak with your healthcare professional.

VaccineHub offers general information only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice

Find a doctor near you

Sources & Citations

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dengue. Frequently asked questions. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/dengue/faqfacts/index.html (accessed 18 October 2018).
  2. Queensland Government. Dengue. Available at: http://conditions.health.qld.gov.au/HealthCondition/condition/14/217/284/dengue (accessed 22 October 2018).
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dengue. Symptoms and what to do if you think you have dengue. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/dengue/symptoms/index.html (accessed 18 October 2018).
  4. Australian Government. Department of Health. Dengue Fact Sheet. Available at: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/ohp-dengue-fs.htm (accessed 2 November 2018).
     

SPANZ.SAPAS.18.10.0373 - Date of preparation November 2018