Dengue infection is caused by 1 of 4 viruses. It is common in tropical and sub-tropical countries, and is spread to people through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. Most people infected with dengue have mild or no symptoms. About 1 in 4 people who are infected with dengue will develop symptoms including fever and headache, eye pain, muscle, joint or bone pain, rash or nausea. Though most people recover in about a week, up to 5% of people infected will develop severe dengue. Severe dengue can result in shock, internal bleeding, and even death. The best way to prevent a dengue infection is to prevent mosquito bites.


Key Facts

  • Dengue virus is primarily spread to people by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes.
  • A person can become infected with dengue up to 4 times in his/her lifetime.
  • Dengue is a leading cause of illness in the tropics and subtropics. Do your homework before traveling. Protect yourself and family members from dengue—use insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites.
  • There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat a dengue virus infection.
  • An estimated 390 million people are infected with dengue each year. Anyone who has traveled to or lives in an area with dengue is at risk for infection.



Mosquito Bites Spread Dengue

The female Aedes aegypti mosquito after biting a person. These mosquitoes live near people, inside and outside the home, and bite primarily during the day.

Woman checking temperature

Could it be dengue?

See your doctor if you recently traveled and develop a fever and have at least two of the following other symptoms: headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, nausea, vomiting, rash or any abnormal bleeding.

Mother giving orange juice to sick son

Caring for a Dengue Patient

Rest and control fever with acetaminophen or paracetamol (do not give ibuprofen, aspirin, or aspirin containing drugs). Fever and vomiting can cause dehydration. Prevent dehydration by drinking fluids including water, juice, and drinks with electrolytes.

Family on vacation

Traveling? Do Your Homework

Anyone traveling to the tropical or subtropical countries could get dengue. For more information where dengue is common and how to prevent getting infected, see

Woman spraying on insect repellent

Use Repellent when Outdoors

Prevent mosquito bites by using insect repellent on exposed skin while outdoors. Use insect repellents with DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus to obtain long-lasting protection. Always follow label instructions.

World map of dengue locations

Where is dengue common?

Find out if you are at risk for dengue and other travel illnesses. Visit CDC’s Traveler’s Health web page at

Baby and stroller covered by mosquito netting

Protect Your Baby

If you are traveling with a baby, use mosquito netting to cover your child’s crib, stroller, and baby carrier to prevent mosquito bites.

Mother putting insect repellent on toddler

How to Apply Insect Repellent on Young Children

When using insect repellent on your child, apply it to your own hands and then rub them on your child. Avoid children's eyes and mouth and use it sparingly around their ears. Do not apply repellent to children's hands. (Children tend to put their hands in their mouths.)

Prevention Tips

  • If you or a family member have dengue, it is important to avoid mosquito bites during the first week of illness to prevent further spread of the virus.
  • The best way to avoid dengue is to prevent mosquito bites. Use insect repellents when outdoors that contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. These ingredients provide long-lasting protection against mosquito bites.
  • Keep mosquitoes out of your home or hotel when traveling. Use screens on windows and doors. Use air conditioning in your hotel room when traveling.
  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants. If you have an infant, use mosquito netting to cover your child’s crib, stroller, and baby carrier.
  • Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any item that holds water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, or trash containers. Check inside and outside your home.

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Page last reviewed: March 3, 2016