Dengue fever: Symptoms, Causes, Risk factors and Complications

Dengue fever

Dengue fever is a mosquito – borne disease which is happening in subtropical and tropical areas of the world. If you have mild dengue fever, then you can experience joint pain, muscle pain and high fever. If you suffer from severe form of dengue fever, then it can cause you a sudden drop in the blood pressure (which is also known as shock), severe bleeding and death. The severe form of dengue fever is also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever. There are millions of causes of dengue infection which are occurring all around the world every year. This type of disease is most common in Southeast Asia [1] and the western Pacific islands but this disease is also rapidly increasing in the Caribbean and in the Latin America. There are many studies on which scientists are trying to discover vaccines about this condition. For now the best prevention is to reduce mosquito habitat areas where this disease is a very common. Most cases in the United States of America occur in people who have travelled abroad and they contracted this infection. The risk of people who live in the southern United States and along the Texas – Mexico border is increased. [2]

Symptoms of Dengue fever

Many people can get this disease. Especially teens and children are not experiencing signs or symptoms during a mild case of dengue fever. When the symptoms of the dengue fever occur, they usually begin 4 – 10 days after you are bitten by an infected mosquito. Here are the most common signs and symptoms of the dengue fever:

  • Pain behind your eyes
  • Muscle, bone and joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Fever as high as 106 F (41 C)

Also you can experience:

  • Rarely, minor bleeding from your gums or nose
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Widespread rash

Most people who suffer from this disease recover within a week or so. But also there are some cases in which the symptoms of this disease may worsen and they become life – threatening. In many cases blood vessels are becoming leaky and damaged and also the number of the platelets (that are clot – forming cells) in your bloodstream drops. This can cause:

  • Problems with your lungs, liver and heart
  • Bleeding under the skin which might look like bruising
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Bleeding from your nose and mouth

If you recently have visited a region in which dengue fever is a very common condition and if you have noticed that you have suddenly developed a fever, then you should visit your doctor as soon as possible.

Causes: This disease can be caused by any of four dengue viruses which are spread by mosquitoes that thrive near and in human lodgings. When some person is infected with the dengue fever and he has been bitten by the mosquito, then this virus enters in the mosquito. When the infected mosquito bites another person, then this person is infected by the dengue fever because this virus enters into his bloodstream. After you have recovered from one type of dengue fever, then you have immunity to the virus that has infected you but you do not have immunity to the other 3 dengue viruses. If you are infected a second, third or fourth time with dengue fever, then the risk of developing hemorrhagic fever (this is a severe dengue fever) is increased.

Dengue fever symptoms causes risk factors

Risk factors: There are some factors which can increase your risk of developing dengue fever or a more severe form of this condition. Here are some risk factors:

  • Prior infection with a dengue fever virus: If you have a previous infection with a dengue fever, then this increases your risk of having severe symptoms if you are infected with this virus again. [3]
  • Living or traveling in tropical areas: If you are in tropical or subtropical areas, then this can increase your risk of exposure to the virus which is the main cause for the dengue fever. The Caribbean, Latin America, the western Pacific islands and the Southeast Asia are especially high – risk areas. [4]

Complications: If you have severe dengue fever, then this can damage your heart, liver and lungs. Your blood pressure can drop to dangerous levels which can cause you a shock and in some cases it can cause you a death. [5]


[1] Shepard DS, Undurraga EA, Halasa YA. Economic and disease burden of dengue in Southeast Asia. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2013;7(2):e2055.

[2] Amin O, Pickering LK. Dengue fever on the rise in United States. AAP News. 2020. Retrieved from

[3] University of California – Berkeley. How dengue infection hits harder the second time around. Science Daily. 2012. Retrieved from

[4] Agrupis KA, Ylade M, Aldaba J, et al. Trends in dengue research in the Philippines: A systematic review. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2019.

[5] Marchiori E, Hochhegger B, Zanetti G. Pulmonary manifestations of dengue. Jornal Brasileiro de Pneumologia. 2020;46(1).


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