Dengue Fever Symptoms and Signs

aedes-mosquitoDengue fever, an acute infectious disease, is caused by dengue virus in infected Aedes mosquito. It tends to occur after the mosquito bite in summer and rainy season. It hits men and women, both young and old. Since currently there is no specific drug for this disease, the prevention is particularly important. So, it is necessary to know what dengue fever symptoms and signs are so that you can take action quickly once the symptoms and signs show up. By the way, in Malaysian people there claim that papaya leaf juice can be used to treat dengue fever, which however has not been scientifically confirmed.

Typical dengue fever

Basically it can be classified into 3 types. And the details of each type are as follows for your reference.

Symptoms of typical type

1. Fever found in all patients. It occurs suddenly and chills initially, followed by rapidly increased body temperature. The body temperature can reach 40°C within 24 hours. Usually the temperature will get back to normal 5 to 7 days later. The fever is irregular. In some cases the body temperature drops to normal in 3 to 5 days, and then increase 1 day later. For that reason, it is often known as double-quotidian fevers. As for children, it tends to occur slowly and have a lower fever.

2. Systemic toxemia. Fever is accompanied with systemic symptoms, such as headache, back pain, and joint pain. The joint pain is so severe that it reaches the bone fracture pain level, which makes patients unable to move although the joint looks quite normal. Gastrointestinal symptoms may include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. The pulse quickens first and then slows down later. In severe cases, the patients become extremely exhausted.

3. Rash. Rash appears within 3 to 6 days of the condition. It often includes maculopapule or measles-like rash. In addition, there are still scarlet fever-like rash, erythema-like rash, or even hemorrhagic rash in severe cases. Rash is distributed in the body, limbs, torso, head, and face. It lasts for 5 to 7 days and most of the patients feel itchy. The good news is that no crusting and pigmentation are found after rashes vanish.

4. Bleeding. 25 to 50% of the patients have varying degrees of bleeding, such as bleeding gums, epistaxis, gastrointestinal bleeding, hemoptysis, hematuria, and the like.

5. Others. Most are with superficial swollen lymph nodes; about a quarter of the patients have hepatomegaly and elevated ALT; jaundice may appear in individual cases and the tourniquet test show positive.

Symptoms of mild type

It shows flu-like symptoms and signs – short-term fever, mild body ache, superficial swollen lymph nodes, and scarce or no rash. As you can see, the symptoms are not typical. As a result, a lot of patients are simply never diagnosed or misdiagnosed.

Symptoms of severe type

In early stage, it shows all the signs of the typical dengue fever. But within 3 to 5 days it suddenly worsens and shows severe headache, vomiting, delirium, coma, convulsions, sweating, sudden drop in blood pressure, stiff neck, mydriasis, and other meningoencephalitis symptoms. Besides, in some cases this type dengue fever is characterized by gastrointestinal bleeding and hemorrhagic shock.

Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF)

DHF can be divided into 2 types – mild DHF and severe dengue shock syndrome (DSS).

Symptoms of mild DHF

Initially it begins as a typical dengue. It shows fever, myalgia, and back pain, in addition to insignificant bone and joint pain. Besides, it also shows a severe bleeding tendency, such as epistaxis, hematemesis, hematuria, blood in the stool and so on. Often two or more organs have heavy bleeding, more than 100ml, and hemoconcentration, in which hematocrit increases by more than 20% and platelet count is less than 100 × 109 / L. Although the amount of bleeding is less in some cases, it is still life-threatening because the bleeding site is located in the important organs like brain, heart, adrenal glands and others.

Dengue hemorrhagic fever signs and symptoms

It shares the clinical manifestation of typical dengue initially. However, this condition will suddenly aggravate during the course or after the fever, featuring significant bleeding tendency accompanied with peripheral circulatory failure. Main symptoms include clammy skin, fast and weak pulse, progressive narrowing of pulse pressure, decreased or even undetectable blood pressure, irritability, lethargy, and coma. Since this condition is so dangerous, the patient will die within 4 to 6 hours if the patients go untreated.

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