Dengue fever is a disease caused by the Dengue virus. The virus occurs within tropical regions and is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes (usually Aedes aegypti). The disease is found in more that 100 countries and the World Health Organisation estimates that there may be more than 50 million cases of infection each year. There are four different types of Dengue virus. This means that victioms can suffer from the fever more than once; although an infection of one type results in immunity against that specific type (but not the remaining three).
Infections are characterised by someone suffering headaches, severe pain and a rash. The severe pain leads to Dengue fever also being known as breakbone fever. The virus circulates in the host's blood stream for up to a week.
Mosquitoes contract the virus by feeding on the blood of an infected human. They then transfer the virus when they feed on other people. The virus may also pass from the female mosquito to her eggs and so her offspring are infected before their first blood meal.
A photograph of an adult female Aedes aegypti mosquito taking a blood meal. The mosquito is a vector of Dengue fever.
Photograph by United States Department of Agriculture.
Other names for (or types of) Dengue fever include:
- Breakbone fever
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