Dengue Fever (cont.)
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What Is the Prognosis of Dengue Fever?
For the large majority of people infected with dengue fever viruses, the prognosis is excellent with complete recovery, although they are likely to feel very ill during the first one or two weeks of the acute illness and weak for about one month. Patients with underlying illness or immune suppression have a fair to good prognosis because they are more likely to get complications. Also, people who have been infected by one dengue virus type are still able to be infected by the remaining three types; a second infection increases the possibility that complications will develop, so patients with second-time dengue fever have a less optimal prognosis.
Patients who develop DHF or DSS have a range of outcomes from good to poor, depending on their underlying medical problems and how quickly supportive measures are given. For example, DHF and DSS have about 50% fatality rate if untreated but only about a 3% rate if treated with supportive measures. Overall, the fatality rate is about 1% for all dengue fever infections. While this rate may seem low, worldwide it means that about 500,000 to 1 million people die each year from dengue fever. This is a concern since the worldwide case numbers and outbreaks are increasing.
How Can People Prevent Dengue Fever?
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Dengue fever can be prevented by stopping mosquitoes from biting because they are the vectors the dengue viruses require for transfer to humans. The CDC has supplied these general rules to prevent transfer of viruses and other pathogens by mosquitoes and other biting vectors:
The CDC recommends insect repellent should contain up to 50% DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide), which is the most effective mosquito repellent for adults and children over 2 months of age.
There are no vaccines currently available commercially for dengue virus available in the U.S. However, Sanofi Pasteur has produced a dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, designed to work against all four types of the virus. Unfortunately, it is only about 60% effective and approved for use in those 9-45 years of age who live in dengue-endemic areas. In addition, the CDC suggests that the vaccine is less effective against dengue virus types 1 and 2. Three countries have approved the vaccine for use: Mexico, Philippines, and Brazil. The vaccine has not been approved by the FDA for use in the U.S. There are about five other companies evaluating clinical trials of dengue virus vaccines.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/31/2017
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