What is Dengue Fever?


Dengue, or Dengue Fever, is a serious and often life-threatening vector-borne illness characterized by high fever, headache, rash, back and bone pain. While Dengue Fever (DF) may manifest with flu-like symptoms, it is also known as “breakbone fever” due to the intensive pain in joints and bones. Mild cases involve a nonspecific febrile illness. Moderate cases display high fever, severe headaches, muscle and joint pains, and rash.


Severe cases develop into Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF), which involves high fever, abdominal pain, hemorrhaging (bleeding), and sometimes circulatory failure. This complicated, often fatal form of dengue can cause severe bleeding, a sudden drop in blood pressure (shock) and death. Dengue hemorrhagic fever is synonymous with Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS). 

While Dengue has been impacting populations for centuries, modern researchers classify the disease into four serotypes: DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, and DENV-4 which vary in prevalence per country and region. Recently, medical researchers at the University of Texas discovered a fifth serotype, DENV-5. The greatest challenge to medical researchers is to arrive at a single treatment which can address all serotypes of the virus.