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Dengue fever

(breakbone fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever)

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Dengue is a disease caused by an arbovirus virus, spread by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti and A. albopictus mosquito. The disease is common in most tropical and subtropical areas including the Caribbean, Mexico, South and Central America, Pacific, Asia, and parts of tropical Africa. Dengue rarely occurs in the United States and reported cases are usually associated with travel to a high-risk area. However, sporadic outbreaks of Dengue have been documented in Florida, Guam, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. During 2002 to 2008, about 32 Wisconsin residents reported travel-associated Dengue illnesses. Illness ranges from 3 to 14 days after a bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms of illness can be mild to severe, including fever, severe frontal headache, pain behind the eyes, arthalgia, myalgia, maculopapular rash, mild bleeding, hemorrhagic fever that can result in circulatory instability, shock, and death

Arboviral diseases home

General information

Dengue fever fact sheet - Hmong - Spanish
Dengue fact sheet - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 
Dengue Educational Resources - CDC 
Dengue Publications List - CDC
Dengue fever international travel fact sheet - CDC 
Travel-associated dengue illness among Wisconsin residents 2002-2008 (WI Medical Journal, 2009) 

Data and Statistics

Graph of reported cases of Dengue virus in Wisconsin from 2002 to 2013 by year of onset.


Some tips to protect yourself:

  • Use effective mosquito repellant and apply according to the label instructions.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes.
  • Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with a repellent containing permethrin or DEET will give extra protection. These repellants are the most effective and most studied.
  • Avoid being outside during times of high mosquito activity, specifically around dawn and dusk.
  • Keep window screens repaired so that mosquitoes cannot enter your home.
  • Dispose of discarded tires, cans, or plastic containers left outside that may contain standing water.
  • Drain standing water from pool or hot tub covers.
  • Turn over plastic wading pools and wheel barrows when not in use.
  • Change the water in bird baths, pet dishes and wading pools every 3-4 days.
  • Keep drains, ditches and culverts clean of trash and weeds so water will drain properly.
  • Clean gutters to ensure they drain properly.

For more information, Using Insect Repellants Safely - CDC

Information for health professionals

This is a Wisconsin disease surveillance category II disease: 
Report to the patient's local public health department electronically, through the Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System (WEDSS), by mail or fax using an Acute and Communicable Disease case report F-44151 or by other means within 72 hours upon recognition of a case.
Information on communicable disease reporting

Wisconsin case reporting and public health follow-up guidelines Arboviral diseases EpiNet 
Arbovirus case report form
2014 Arbovirus management protocol  

Dengue laboratory guidance  

Training and additional resources 


Wisconsin Local Health Departments - Regional offices - Tribal agencies

Diep Hoang Johnson Vectorborne Disease Epidemiologist
Wisconsin Division of Public Health 
Bureau of Communicable Diseases
(Phone 608-267-0249)  (Fax 608-261-4976)

Last Revised: September 15, 2014