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What to Know About Dengue Fever as Cases Spread to New Places

November 14, 2023

Dengue fever, a viral illness transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, is experiencing a surge in cases worldwide. This increase is observed not only in regions that have long struggled with the disease but also in areas where its presence was previously unheard of, such as France, Italy, and Chad in central Africa. Recently, the United States reported its first case of locally transmitted dengue.

Factors contributing to this global rise in dengue cases include increased international travel, urbanization, and climate change, which create favorable conditions for mosquito breeding and viral transmission. The recent emergence of locally transmitted dengue in the United States is a concerning development, highlighting the expanding geographical range of the disease.


Dengue, also known as "breakbone fever," can cause severe joint pain and is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. While only a quarter of dengue cases exhibit symptoms, some infections may result in mild flu-like illness, while others can lead to more severe symptoms such as intense headaches, vomiting, high fever, and joint pain. It may take several weeks for patients to fully recover. Approximately 5 percent of infected individuals progress to severe dengue, which causes organ failure and shock in some patients.


Unfortunately, there is currently no specific treatment available for dengue infection. Patients are typically provided with symptom management, such as pain medication, to alleviate discomfort. However, pharmaceutical companies are actively conducting clinical trials to explore potential antiviral drugs for treating dengue. Alongside medical interventions, public health initiatives stress the importance of mosquito control measures. These include eliminating mosquito breeding sites and using insect repellents to reduce the transmission of dengue and minimize its impact on affected communities.