Dengue - Complications 

Complications of dengue  

In a small number of cases a person with dengue goes on to develop a more serious and potentially life-threatening form of the condition known as severe dengue.

Exactly why this is the case is unclear, but the main risk factor is having had a history of previous dengue infection.

Signs and symptoms of severe dengue include:

  • the fever often disappears
  • feeling tired
  • an intense and persistent abdominal pain
  • persistent vomiting (being sick)
  • swelling of your liver which can be both painful and noticeable to the touch
  • passing large amounts of blood in nose bleeds, heavy periods, passing red urine with your stools (‘poo’) and/or vomiting blood

Another related complication is that people with severe dengue can experience a sudden and severe drop in blood pressure. This is known as dengue shock syndrome.

Symptoms of dengue shock syndrome include:

  • cold, clammy skin
  • a weak rapid pulse
  • dry mouth
  • reduced flow of urine
  • fast breathing

If you have any of the symptoms of severe dengue, you should seek immediate medical help to prevent the disease progressing.

Call 999 and ask for an ambulance.

You will probably need to be admitted to hospital and given fluids via a drip into one of your blood vessels to prevent dehydration and stabilise your blood pressure.

With treatment, the vast majority of people make a rapid recovery and are usually well enough to leave hospital after a few days.

Page last reviewed: 02/07/2012

Next review due: 02/07/2014

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