Symptoms of Dengue and Testing

Key points

  • 1 in 4: About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick.
  • For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.
  • Severe dengue can be life-threatening within a few hours and often requires care at a hospital.
Adult Aedes Aegypti mosquito feeding on a host


The most common symptom of dengue is fever with any of the following:

  • Aches and pains (eye pain, typically behind the eyes, muscle, joint, or bone pain)
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Rash
  • Any warning sign
Human silhouette with callout graphics with dengue symptoms: eye pain, fever, muscle pain, headache, bone pain, nausea, vomiting, joint pain, and rash.
Common symptoms of dengue.
  • Mild symptoms of dengue can be confused with other illnesses that cause fever.
  • Symptoms of dengue typically last 2–7 days.
  • Most people will recover after about a week.

When to seek emergency help

Symptoms of dengue can become severe within a few hours. Severe dengue is a medical emergency.

About 1 in 20 people who get sick with dengue will develop severe dengue. Severe dengue can result in shock, internal bleeding, and death.

Immediately go to a local clinic or emergency room if you or a family member has any of the following symptoms:

  • Belly pain or tenderness
  • Vomiting (at least 3 times in 24 hours)
  • Bleeding from the nose or gums
  • Vomiting blood, or blood in the stool
  • Feeling extremely tired or restless

Warning Signs‎

Watch for warning of severe dengue. Warning signs usually begin in the 24–48 hours after fever has gone away.


  • See your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of dengue and live in or have recently traveled to an area with risk of dengue.
  • A blood test is the only way to confirm the diagnosis.
    • Laboratory confirmation is not required to manage illness from dengue, and your healthcare provider might provide care based on your signs and symptoms.
  • Your healthcare provider may order blood tests to look for dengue or other similar viruses like Zika or chikungunya.