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Health > Kids > Dengue


Bloodsuckers Give Disease Flight

The virus that causes dengue fever found long ago that hitching a ride with mosquitoes is the way to travel. Mosquitoes get around. And there are lots of them. Good news for the virus. Bad news for us.

Dengue fever can be fierce, even deadly in its most severe form. The Swahili name for the flu-like disease means "a sudden overtaking by a spirit." A Philadelphia doctor called the sickness that swept over the city in 1780 "breakbone fever," because the achiness caused in the joints was so severe.

Once sporadic, the disease now is quickly spreading across the globe, primarily in the heavily populated areas of the tropics and sub-tropics. Four strains have emerged in recent decades, and people's reactions to infection vary. The most severe symptoms are those of dengue hemorrhagic fever, which include leaking blood vessels that greatly stress the body and can ultimately prove fatal.


Symptoms of typical uncomplicated dengue usually start with fever within 5 to 6 days after a person has been bitten by an infected mosquito.

*High fever, up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit

*Severe headache

*Retro-orbital (behind the eye) pain

*Severe joint and muscle pain

*Nausea and vomiting


A doctor or other health care worker can diagnose dengue fever by doing a blood test. The test can show whether the blood sample contains dengue virus or antibodies to the virus.

There is no specific treatment for dengue fever, and most people recover completely within 2 weeks. To help with recovery, health care experts recommend

*Getting plenty of bed rest.

*Drinking lots of fluids.

*Taking medicine to reduce fever.

How to Prevent from dengue fever

The best way to prevent dengue fever is to take special precautions to avoid contact with mosquitoes. Wear dress with protective clothing—long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes.

Because Aedes mosquitoes usually bite during the day, be sure to use precautions especially during early morning hours before daybreak and in the late afternoon before dark.

Keep unscreened windows and doors closed.

Get rid of areas where mosquitoes breed, such as standing water in flower pots or discarded tires.

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