What is Dengue Fever?
Dengue fever is a disease which is commonly found in the tropics and has a geographical spread similar to malaria. It is caused by infection of one of the four closely related virus serotypes (a subdivision of virus strains), and each serotype is sufficiently different so that there is no cross-protection against them. Dengue is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes (usually the Aedes aegypti), and contrary to popular belief, it cannot be transmitted through human contact.
What are some of the Symptoms of it?
It usually takes from 4 to 7 days from getting bitten by an infected mosquito to showing symptoms of it. Some of the common symptoms are a sudden onset of fever with severe headache, joint and muscular pains and rashes. The dengue rash is usually bright red petechia (tiny red dots under the skin) and usually starts showing first on the lower limbs and the chest. In some patients, it even spreads to cover the body. Gastritis with some combination of associated abdominal pain, nausea/vomiting or diarrhoea is also common.
However, some rare cases develop much milder symptoms which might (when no rash is present) be misdiagnosed as a flu or other viral infection. This is especially dangerous, as travelers from tropical areas may unknowingly pass on dengue in their home countries.
Note: Patients with dengue can only pass on the infection through mosquitoes or blood products while they are still febrile (running a fever).