Dengue is a vector-borne viral infection of global importance. Several pathogenetic mechanisms such as immune enhancement and selection pressure have been proposed and febrile, critical and recovery phases have been identified. A new classification proposed by WHO has recently been introduced where definitions have been changed to ‘probable dengue’, ‘dengue with warning signs’ and ‘severe dengue’. The majority of dengue viral infections are self-limiting, but complications have high morbidity and mortality. The diagnosis of dengue viral infection is essentially clinical, although confirmation requires laboratory tests including serology, NS1 antigen detection, PCR and viral cultures. There are no specific anti-dengue drugs and treatment is basically supportive and consists of early recognition of complications and appropriate fluid therapy. A number of candidate vaccines are under development.
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