Dengue Fever Viruses


Dengue viruses are the most important arboviruses causing disease in humans. Approximately 3 billion people live in areas of risk, and there are an estimated 50–100 million cases occurring each year. These estimates reflect an enormous burden of morbidity, predominantly affecting urban centres of the developing world. There is currently no specific treatment and disease control is limited to tackling the vector. Despite considerable scientific attention disease pathogenesis remains incompletely understood. A better understanding of dengue virus biology and disease pathogenesis has the potential to pave the way to successful therapeutic interventions. This article aims to review current understanding of virus and vector biology, disease pathogenesis and clinical manifestations and management. Finally the article will consider novel approaches to clinical management and disease control.

Key Concepts:

  • Dengue viruses are the most important arboviruses globally.

  • Dengue viruses are a significant cause of morbidity, particularly in the tropics.

  • The pathogenesis of dengue results from both virus and host factors.

  • Clinical management is limited to parenteral fluids, occasional use of blood products and supportive care.

  • Despite a long gestation and theoretical safety concerns a dengue vaccine may soon be a reality.

  • Novel approaches to vector control may aid global disease control efforts.

Keywords: dengue; Aedes aegypti; haemorrhagic fever; mosquito; arbovirus; infectious disease

Figure 1.

The Flavivirus virion structure. Structural proteins: E, envelope glycoprotein and M, membrane glycoprotein.

Figure 2.

Genome of the Flavivirus genus within the family Flaviviridae, showing gene order. Structural proteins: C, capsid; E, envelope and prM, premembrane. NS, nonstructural proteins and HA, haemagglutinin.

Figure 3.

Transmission cycles of dengue viruses.

Figure 4.

Countries and areas at risk of dengue transmission. The contour lines represent the potential geographic limits of A. aegypti (WHO, ).

Figure 5.

Dengue classification and levels of severity (WHO, ).



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Whitehorn, James(Jul 2012) Dengue Fever Viruses. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0000412.pub2]