Dengue: Key Facts & Symptoms

Dengue: Key Facts & Symptoms

Key Facts

  • Dengue is a viral infection caused by the dengue virus (DENV), transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes.
  • About half of the world's population is now at risk of dengue with an estimated 100-400 million infections occurring each year.
  • Dengue is found in tropical and sub-tropical climates worldwide, mostly in urban and semi-urban areas.
  • While many DENV infections are asymptomatic or produce only mild illness, DENV can occasionally cause more severe cases, and even death.
  • Prevention and control of dengue depend on vector control. There is no specific treatment for dengue/severe dengue, and early detection and access to proper medical care greatly lower fatality rates of severe dengue.


Most people with dengue have mild or no symptoms and will get better in one to two weeks. Rarely, dengue can be severe and lead to death.   

If symptoms occur, they usually begin four to 10 days after infection and last for two to seven days. Symptoms may include the following:

  • High fever (40° C/104° F)
  • Severe headache
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

Individuals who are infected for the second time are at greater risk of severe dengue. The following severe dengue symptoms often come after the fever has gone away:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Rapid breathing
  • Bleeding gums or nose
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Blood in vomit or stool
  • Being very thirsty
  • Pale and cold skin
  • Feeling weak

People with these severe symptoms should get care right away. After recovery, people who have had dengue may feel tired for several weeks.

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