Section : Articles

Dengue Fever and the skin

  • Up to 100 million individuals may be infected by the dengue virus each year. The virus is transmitted through arthropod bites (usually mosquitoes). Population increase makes control of mosquito population difficult as breeding sites (stagnant waters) are more numerous and less detectable (roofs…).
  • Infection ranges from asymptomatic infection to dengue fever with/without hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome. Many symptoms in addition to extreme tiredness are present and laboratory tests show typical findings. Management requires inpatient care.
  • On the skin, an exanthem can appear (50-82% of patients) and consists of:
  1. in the first 12 hours: vesicles may appear on the mucosal surfaces (enanthem).
  2. in the first 24 to 48 hours: flushing erythema of the face neck and chest
  3. 3-5 days: generalized morbilliform eruption with petechiae with areas free of lesions

For full access to the free article in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD), click here.


Dr Christophe Hsu – dermatologist. Geneva, Switzerland