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Last updated: July 24, 2020


Dengue is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes (especially Aedes aegypti) and is widely distributed throughout the tropics and subtropics. Dengue classically presents with high fever, headache, body aches, exanthem, and generalized lymphadenopathy. Symptoms usually subside within one week. Some cases progress to the more severe dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) with thrombocytopenia, spontaneous bleeding, and potentially shock (dengue shock syndrome). Treatment is supportive. A vaccination is available for use in children, living in endemic areas, with confirmed prior dengue virus infection.


  • Distribution: tropical regions; worldwide, particularly Asia (e.g., Thailand)
  • Incidence
    • Most common viral disease affecting tourists in tropical regions
    • ∼ 400 million infections per year worldwide


Epidemiological data refers to the US, unless otherwise specified.



Clinical features

Classic dengue fever

If symptoms appear more than 2 weeks after returning from a dengue-endemic region, it is very unlikely that dengue is the cause!

Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF)

Dengue hemorrhagic fever is more frequent in individuals who experience a repeat infection with a second serotype, especially serotype 2!




Differential diagnoses

Chikungunya fever [12][13]


The differential diagnoses listed here are not exhaustive.




  • Avoid exposure, use of mosquito repellent (see also → mosquito bite prevention)
  • A tetravalent attenuated live vaccine (CYD-TDV) has been approved for use in children between 9–16 years of age who live in endemic areas and have a laboratory confirmed prior dengue virus infection.



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