Dengue hemorrhagic fever : Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Alternate Names : Hemorrhagic dengue, Dengue shock syndrome, Philippine hemorrhagic fever, Thai hemorrhagic fever, Singapore hemorrhagic fever

Definition

Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a severe, potentially deadly infection spread by certain species of mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti).

See also: Dengue fever

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Four different dengue viruses are known to cause dengue hemorrhagic fever. Dengue hemorrhagic fever occurs when a person catches a different type dengue virus after being infected by another one sometime before. Prior immunity to a different dengue virus type plays an important role in this severe disease.

Worldwide, more than 100 million cases of dengue fever occur every year. A small number of these develop into dengue hemorrhagic fever. Most infections in the United States are brought in from other countries. It is possible for a traveler who has returned to the United States to pass the infection to someone who has not traveled.

Risk factors for dengue hemorrhagic fever include having antibodies to dengue virus from prior infection and being younger than 12, female, or Caucasian.

Pictures & Images

Mosquito, adult feeding on the skin

There are many different species of mosquito, which can carry some of the world’s most common and significant infectious diseases, including West Nile, Malaria, yellow fever, viral encephalitis, and dengue fever. (Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

Mosquito, adult

Mosquito, adult

This illustration shows an adult southern house mosquito. This mosquito feeds on blood and is the carrier of many diseases, such as encephalitis, West Nile, dengue fever, yellow fever, and others. (Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

Mosquito, egg raft

Mosquito, egg raft

Mosquitoes of the Culex species lay their eggs in the form of egg rafts that float in still or stagnant water. The mosquito lays the eggs one at a time sticking them together in the shape of a raft. An egg raft can contain from 100 to 400 eggs. The eggs go through larval and pupal stages and feed on micro-organisms before developing into flying mosquitoes. (Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

Mosquito, larvae

Mosquito, larvae

This picture shows mosquito larvae, an early stage of the mosquito life cycle. (Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

Mosquito, pupa

Mosquito, pupa

These are mosquito pupa. This is another stage in the development of the mosquito. (Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

Antibodies

Antibodies

Antigens are large molecules (usually proteins) on the surface of cells, viruses, fungi, bacteria, and some non-living substances such as toxins, chemicals, drugs, and foreign particles. The immune system recognizes antigens and produces antibodies that destroy substances containing antigens.


Review Date : 11/11/2008
Reviewed By : Linda Vorvick, MD, Family Physician, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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