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Dengue virus

Dengue Virus

Dengue (breakbone fever) is a mosquito-borne infection caused by Dengue virus

(DENV), a Flavivirus (Others see West Nile Virus (WNV), Japanese Encephalitis Virus

(JEV), Yellow Fever Virus (YFV) and Zika Virus (ZIKV).) that is characterized by fever,

severe headache, muscle and joint pain, nausea and vomiting, eye pain, and rash.

Severe forms of the disease, dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome,

principally affect children.

Dengue virus is transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedes

aegypti and, to a lesser extent, Ae. albopictus. This mosquito also transmits

chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika infection. Dengue is widespread throughout the

tropics, with local variations in risk influenced by rainfall, temperature and

unplanned rapid urbanization.

The first record of a case of probable dengue fever is in a Chinese medical

encyclopedia from the Jin Dynasty (265–420 AD) which referred to a “water poison”

associated with flying insects. The first recognized Dengue epidemics occurred

almost simultaneously in Asia, Africa, and North America in the 1780s, shortly after

the identification and naming of the disease in 1779. The first confirmed case report

dates from 1789 and is by Benjamin Rush, who coined the term "breakbone fever"

because of the symptoms of myalgia and arthralgia.

The viral etiology and the transmission by mosquitoes were only deciphered in the

20th century. The socioeconomic impact of World War II resulted in increased spread

globally. Nowadays, about 2.5 billion people, or 40% of the world’s population, live

in areas where there is a risk of dengue transmission. Dengue spread to more than

100 countries in Asia, the Pacific, the Americas, Africa, and the Caribbean.