Dengue fever is an infection caused by a virus that you can get only from a mosquito bite. It is also known as breakbone fever because of the severe joint and muscle aches it causes.
Usually dengue fever is a relatively mild illness. Dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome are more serious forms of dengue fever and can be deadly.
The virus is carried from one person to another by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes get infected when they bite an infected person. The infected mosquito can then pass the virus to you when it bites you. The infection does not spread directly from person to person.
Dengue is found mostly in tropical and subtropical areas such as the Caribbean, South America, and southern parts of Asia. Most dengue cases in the US happen in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Samoa, and Guam. There have also been outbreaks in Florida, Hawaii, and Texas.
Symptoms usually start 4 to 7 days after your child is bitten by an infected mosquito. Sometimes it may be as long as 2 weeks before your child starts having symptoms. Symptoms of dengue fever may include:
Dengue hemorrhagic fever (a more serious form) may also cause:
Dengue shock syndrome can have any of the symptoms listed above plus:
Dengue shock syndrome may cause the heart, lungs, or kidneys to stop working.
Your healthcare provider will ask about your child's symptoms and recent travels and examine your child. Your child may have blood tests.
There is no medicine that treats dengue fever. Most children get better within a couple weeks after they started having symptoms.
You need to make sure that your child:
You may give your child acetaminophen to control fever and pain if necessary. Do not give aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAIDs). These medicines can make it harder for the blood to clot. If your child has dengue hemorrhagic fever, they can cause more bleeding. Also, children and teens who take aspirin during a viral illness are at risk for a serious illness called Reye's syndrome.
If your child has dengue hemorrhagic fever, your child may need to stay at the hospital, where IV fluids and blood transfusions can be given if needed.
Follow your child’s healthcare provider's instructions. Ask your provider:
Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup.
There is no vaccine that prevents dengue.
Take these precautions to avoid mosquito bites:
The risk of dengue infection for international travelers appears to be small unless there is an epidemic in the area you are visiting.
You can get more information from: