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"What are the symptoms of Dengue Fever?"
I was traveling in the Caribbean recently, and I've been really sick ever since I got back. It's rare for me to get sick ? I'm a healthy, young guy. I'm scared it's Dengue fever. If it is, what symptoms would I have?
Fever in a young adult who has recently traveled can have many different causes and the specialists involved in the diagnosis and treatment include internists, infectious disease specialist and others. The symptoms of dengue range from asymptomatic infection to self limited dengue fever to dengue hemorrhagic fever with shock syndrome. Classic dengue fever is an acute febrile illness accompanied by headaches, retroorbital pain in addition to muscle and joint pain (most common); rash; nausea and vomiting ; respiratory tract symptoms (cough, sore throat, congestion). Fevers can last from 5 to 7 days and some patients display a biphasic fever curve with the second febrile phase lasting 1-2 days. This febrile period may be followed by a period of extreme fatigue that can last for days to weeks. Of note an epidemiologic study of 3900 patients with dengue from Puerto Rico (Cobra et al, 1995) found that all symptoms were less frequent in patients 19 years of age or younger and joint pain/body pain/rashes were more common in females. Fever and extreme fatigue have been found to the most predominant symptoms. When a rash occurs, it often appears 2-5 days after the onset of fever. Bleeding manifestations such as dark stool or bruising occur commonly in patients with dengue fever but are rarely life threatening. It is not possible to come to a diagnosis without examining the patient. The strong recommendation is therefore to get evaluated in person by your primary care provider as soon as possible and get a referral to other specialists if needed for further work up.
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