About Dengue

Dengue is a viral illness caused by any one of four closely related dengue viruses. Dengue is most commonly transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. In many parts of the tropics and subtropics, dengue is common. In areas where Dengue is not common, it can still be introduced by travelers who are infected while visiting.

How is it transmitted?

Dengue is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. The mosquito becomes infected with the virus when it bites an infected person. The virus cannot be spread from person to person contact.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of dengue infection usually begin 4 – 7 days after the mosquito bite and typically last 3 – 10 days. Symptoms may include high fever, severe headache, severe pain behind the eyes, joint pain, muscle and bone pain, rash, and mild bleeding (e.g. nose or gums bleed, easy bruising). Some people never have significant symptoms but can still infect mosquitoes.


There is no specific medication for treatment. Self-care treatment options include:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers (with acetaminophen, avoid aspirin)
  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration
  • Rest

If symptoms persist or worsen within the first 24 hours after the fever declines, or if you have a fever above 101°F, call Student Health Service 215-746-3535 and select the option to speak with a nurse about your symptoms.


There is no vaccine to prevent infection. The most effective protective measures are those that avoid mosquito bites:

  • Use air conditioning or window and door screens to prevent mosquitoes from coming indoors
  • Use bed nets if sleeping in hotels/homes that are not in air conditioned
  • Use mosquito repellents containing 20-30% DEET as the active ingredient on exposed skin and clothing



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(updated 12/2/2015)