Dengue Fever

What is dengue?

Dengue is a viral infection caused by any one of the 4 serotypes of dengue virus (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, DEN-4). The viruses are spread by the bite of infected aedes mosquitoes. It is estimated that there are over 390 million cases of dengue worldwide per year.

Signs and Symptoms

How do I know if I have dengue?

Majority of dengue infections are asymptomatic. A person usually becomes symptomatic 5-6 days after the infecting bite. A person is suspected to have dengue fever if he/she is staying in a dengue endemic area and having fever with 2 of the following symptoms or signs:

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Rash
  • Aches and pains
  • Low white blood cell level in blood test
  • Any warning signs : abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, persistent diarrhea, bleeding tendency, lethargy, restlessness


What will happen if I do not seek treatment for dengue?

Dengue can present either as Dengue Fever, Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF) or Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS) which are more severe form of the disease.

For DHF, the above symptoms can be followed by haemmorrhagic manifestations:

  • tendency to bruise easily or
  • other types of skin haemorrhages such as bleeding nose or gums.
  • this may lead to generalised bleeding tendency and followed by death if left untreated.

For DSS, the above symptoms may followed by:

  • shock state
  • low blood pressure
  • cold clammy skin
  • death


What is the treatment for dengue?

There is no specific treatment for dengue infection. If you think you have dengue fever should consult your doctor immediately. Paracetamol is given for the fever and pain and patients are you advised to take adequate rest and plenty of fluids. If a person has warning signs, DHF or DSS, hospitalisation is frequently required in order to be adequately managed.


What can I do to prevent dengue infection?

There are many ways to prevent dengue infection :

  1. To eliminate potential breeding sites for mosquitoes.
    • Properly dispose or discard items that collect rainwater or are used to store water eg. plastic containers, tin can buckets or used old tyres.
    • Cover and seal septic tanks, rainwater tanks or other large water storage containers
    • Empty and scour watering containers and vases at least once a week.
    • Ensure roof gutters drain freely.
    • To keep fish pond with fish
  2. Use mosquito spray inside the house where mosquitoes are observed to congregate to kill adult mosquitoes.
  3. Use protective measures to prevent mosquito bite
    • Ensure windows or doors in the house are screened
    • Apply mosquito repellents on exposed skin
    • Wear loose light coloured clothing with long sleeves, trousers and socks when outside the house
    • Mosquito coils and electric vapour mats in enclosed areas

Support group

Contact your nearest health office for further assistance. For more complete internet information:


  2. Clinical Practice Guidelines Management of Dengue Infecton In Adults 3rd Edition, 2015, Malaysia
Last reviewed : 28 August 2020
Writer : Dr. Fuad Hashim
  : Dr. Wan Mohd Zahiruddin Wan Mohammad
Reviewer : Dr. Nor Faizah bt. Ghazali