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Dengue Fever


Infection with the dengue virus may be sub-clinical (no apparent symptoms) or may cause illness ranging from a mild fever to a severe, even fatal condition, ie.dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome.

The symptoms may last up to a week. Some people may experience a resurgence of fever and other symptoms that may last another 2-3 days.

See a doctor immediately if you or anyone
in your family have any symptoms of dengue

Dengue fever symptoms

Symptoms are most commonly seen in adults and older children. Young children may show no symptoms. Typical symptoms may include:

  • sudden onset of fever (lasting three to seven days)
  • intense headache (especially behind the eyes)
  • muscle and joint pain (ankles, knees and elbows)
  • unpleasant metallic taste in mouth, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain
  • flushed skin on face and neck, fine skin rash as fever subsides
  • rash on arms and legs, severe itching, peeling of skin and hair loss
  • minor bleeding (nose or gums) and heavy menstrual periods
  • extreme fatigue

Dengue hemorrhagic fever symptoms

This is a rare complication of dengue in Australia. More commonly seen in children aged under 15 years, but can occur in adults. Symptoms include:

  • same signs as dengue fever
  • 2-5 days after onset of fever, rapid deterioration and cardiovascular disease
  • eperhaps shock and sometimes death.

Dengue fever treatment

  • See a doctor / general practitioner (GP) immediately.
  • Wear insect repellent. If you have dengue fever, mosquitoes that bite you may pass dengue on to other people.
  • Drink plenty of liquids and take paracetamol for fever and pain. Do not take aspirin because it can affect blood clotting.

Dengue hemorrhagic fever treatment

All patients with dengue hemorrhagic fever need to be hospitalized for fluid therapy and monitoring.

Doctors and health professionals can refer to Dengue hemorrhagic fever: diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control (2nd edition. Geneva : World Health Organization, 1997) for detailed information on dengue symptoms and treatment.

Types of Dengue

There are four types of dengue viruses that cause dengue fever worldwide - Dengue 1, 2, 3 and 4. A person infected with one type of dengue will subsequently only be immune to that type. They will not be immune to other types of dengue and will, in fact, be at risk of developing severe symptoms if they contract another type of dengue.

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