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CLOSE THIS BOOKFact sheet No 117: Dengue and Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever - Revised November 1998 (WHO, 1998, 3 p.)
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Characteristics

Dengue fever is a severe, flu-like illness that affects infants, young children and adults but rarely causes death. The clinical features of dengue fever vary according to the age of the patient. Infants and young children may have a non-specific febrile illness with rash. Older children and adults may have either a mild febrile syndrome or the classical incapacitating disease with abrupt onset and high fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, and rash. Dengue haemorrhagic fever is a potentially deadly complication that is characterized by high fever, haemorrhagic phenomena - often with enlargement of the liver - and in severe cases, circulatory failure. The illness commonly begins with a sudden rise in temperature accompanied by facial flush and other non-specific constitutional symptoms of dengue fever. The fever usually continues for 2-7 days and can be as high as 40-41° C, possibly with febrile convulsions and haemorrhagic phenomena. In moderate DHF cases, all signs and symptoms abate after the fever subsides. In severe cases, the patient's condition may suddenly deteriorate after a few days of fever; the temperature drops, followed by signs of circulatory failure, and the patient may rapidly go into a critical state of shock and die within 12-24 hours, or quickly recover following appropriate volume replacement therapy.

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