Dengue infection, one of the most devastating mosquito-borne viral diseases in humans, is now a significant problem in several tropical countries. The disease, caused by the four dengue virus serotypes, ranges from asymptomatic infection to undifferentiated fever, dengue fever (DF), and severe dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) with or without shock. DHF is characterized by fever, bleeding diathesis and a tendency to develop a potentially fatal shock syndrome. Consistent hematological findings include vasculopathy, coagulopathy, and thrombocytopenia. There are increasing reports of dengue infection with unusual manifestations that mainly involve cerebral and hepatic symptoms. Laboratory diagnosis includes virus isolation, serology, and detection of dengue ribonucleic acid. Successful treatment, which is mainly supportive, depends on early recognition of the disease and careful monitoring for shock. Prevention depends primarily on control of the mosquito vector. Further study of the pathogenesis of DHF is required for the development of a safe and effective dengue vaccine.
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