Dengue fever is a viral infection spread by mosquitos . The virus can't be spread from person to person. Mosquitos that carry the dengue virus are most common in areas of the world with tropical and subtropical climates. These include parts of:
- South and Central America
- Southeast Asia
- The South Pacific
- The Caribbean, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
Dengue fever is rare in the U.S. mainland, but cases have been reported in Florida and in Texas near the Mexican border.
Most people who get dengue fever have no symptoms, or mild, flu-like symptoms such as fever , chills, and headache . These symptoms usually last for a week or so. But sometimes dengue fever can develop into a much more serious disease called dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF).
DHF causes life-threatening symptoms, including blood vessel damage and shock . Shock is a condition that can lead to a severe drop in blood pressure and organ failure.
DHF mostly affects children under 10. It can also develop if you have dengue fever and get infected a second time before you have fully recovered from your first infection.
A dengue fever test checks your blood for signs of a dengue fever infection. There are two main types of dengue fever blood tests. One looks for the virus itself; the other checks for antibodies to the virus. Antibodies are proteins made by your immune system to fight foreign substances like viruses.
While there is no medicine that can cure dengue fever or DHF, other treatments can help relieve symptoms. This can make you more comfortable if you have dengue fever. It can be lifesaving if you have DHF.
Other names: dengue virus antibody, dengue virus by PCR