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What are dengue fever symptoms and signs?

After being bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus, the incubation period ranges from three to 15 (usually five to eight) days before the signs and symptoms of dengue appear in stages. Dengue starts with chills, headache, pain upon moving the eyes, appetite loss, feeling unwell (malaise), and low backache. Painful aching in the legs and joints occurs during the first hours of illness. The temperature rises quickly as high as 104 F (40 C), with relatively low heart rate (bradycardia) and low blood pressure (hypotension). The eyes become reddened. A flushing or pale pink rash comes over the face and then disappears. The lymph nodes in the neck and groin are often swollen.

High fever and other signs of dengue last for two to four days, followed by a rapid drop in body temperature (defervescence) with profuse sweating. This precedes a period with normal temperature and a sense of well-being that lasts about a day. A second rapid rise in temperature follows. A characteristic itchy rash (small red spots, called petechiae) appears along with the fever and spreads from the extremities to cover the entire body except the face. The palms and soles may be bright red and swollen.

Return to Dengue Fever

See what others are saying

Comment from: Nita, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 10

I had dengue fever about four years ago. I couldn't move except to go to the toilet and I could not eat anything for a week. When I could finally move and eat I found I had to rest and have long naps every afternoon. The funny thing is ever since the dengue I will sometimes have several days of extreme tiredness and have to just lie around. I'm wondering if anyone else has had this experience and if it's related to having had dengue.

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Comment from: lheron007, Female (Patient) Published: March 23

I lived in Belize for over 25 years. We had times when sickness would overtake the city, especially in the swampy ghetto at the back where I lived with my four small children. There were dengue warnings on the news but I didn't pay much attention to it. My dengue started when I was preparing to walk my children home from school. I dropped down on the bed prostrated with fever that climbed to 106, and for two weeks I could not lift my head. My children tried to get water into my mouth. After the fever subsided for about three days I was stiff and felt very broken, I could barely walk. I thought the worst was over; and then the fever came back. I burned hot for perhaps another week, then the fever subsided. I was left weak and anemic for months after.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: lheron007, Female (Patient) Published: March 22

I lived in Belize for over 25 years. We had times when sickness would overtake the city, especially in the swampy ghetto at the back where I lived with my four small children. There were dengue warnings on the news but I didn't pay much attention to it. My dengue started when I was preparing to walk my children home from school. I dropped down on the bed prostrated with fever that climbed to 106, and for two weeks I could not lift my head. My children tried to get water into my mouth. After the fever subsided for about three days I was stiff and felt very broken, I could barely walk. I thought the worst was over; and then the fever came back. I burned hot for perhaps another week, then the fever subsided. I was left weak and anemic for months after.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

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