Dengue Fever - Describe Your Experience

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What is dengue fever?

Dengue fever is a disease caused by a family of viruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes. It is an acute illness of sudden onset that usually follows a benign course with symptoms such as headache, fever, exhaustion, severe muscle and joint pain, swollen glands (lymphadenopathy), and rash. The presence (the "dengue triad") of fever, rash, and headache (and other pains) is particularly characteristic of dengue. Other signs of dengue fever include bleeding gums, severe pain behind the eyes, and red palms and soles.

Dengue (pronounced DENG-gay) can affect anyone but tends to be more severe in people with compromised immune systems. Because it is caused by one of four serotypes of virus, it is possible to get dengue fever multiple times. However, an attack of dengue produces immunity for a lifetime to that particular serotype to which the patient was exposed.

Dengue goes by other names, including "breakbone" or "dandy fever." Victims of dengue often have contortions due to the intense joint and muscle pain, hence the name breakbone fever. Slaves in the West Indies who contracted dengue were said to have dandy fever because of their postures and gait.

Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a more severe form of the viral illness. Symptoms include headache, fever, rash, and evidence of hemorrhage in the body. Petechiae (small red or purple splotches or blisters under the skin), bleeding in the nose or gums, black stools, or easy bruising are all possible signs of hemorrhage. This form of dengue fever can be life-threatening and can progress to the most severe form of the illness, dengue shock syndrome.

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Comment from: T, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: March 11

I had dengue fever twice while in the East Sepik, Papua New Guinea. The symptoms were as described in the article but very severe indeed. My symptoms included a dramatic drop in blood pressure, variance in heart beat from normal to very low, which produced periods of light-headedness. The long term effects included weakness and acute tiredness that lasted several months. The ongoing danger of dengue, especially in tropical regions, is the lowering of the immune system thus exposing an individual to other viruses and diseases.

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Comment from: Azura, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 26

I am still recovering from dengue. Today is the 9th day (counting from the 1st day I had a sudden high fever). I don"t have rashes but I feel nauseous all the time and my whole body was painful (joint, muscle, back of the eyes and head, a very terrible headache). My platelet was not that low (still above 100) but white blood cell count was at 2.1 and remained around that figure until yesterday (8th day) when it suddenly went up to 5.8. Platelet also went up to 166. I had the worst fever ever. I"m still very lethargic. I can"t eat at all since the 1st day but I did drink lots of Gatorade and coconut water as well as other fruit juices and yogurt drinks. I totally depend on these liquids to fuel me.

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