What are the clinical characteristics of severe dengue (dengue hemorrhagic fever)?

Updated: May 03, 2019
  • Author: Darvin Scott Smith, MD, MSc, DTM&H; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
  • Print
Answer

The initial phase of severe dengue is similar to that of dengue fever and other febrile viral illnesses. Shortly after the fever breaks (3-7 days after symptom onset or sometimes within 24 hours before), signs of plasma leakage appear, along with the development of hemorrhagic symptoms such as bleeding from sites of trauma, gastrointestinal bleeding, and hematuria. Patients may also present with severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting that may contain blood, fatigue, and febrile seizures (in children).

The subsequent 24 hours frequently prove critical. If left untreated, hemorrhagic fever most likely progresses to shock. Common symptoms in impending shock include abdominal pain, vomiting, and restlessness. Patients also may have symptoms related to circulatory failure, such as pallor, tachypnea, tachycardia, dizziness/lightheadedness, and a decreased level of consciousness.

See Clinical Presentation for more detail.


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!