Dengue fever, also called breakbone fever, is a virus infection caused by mosquitoes, with fever, headache, malaise, prostration, and characteristically severe muscle and joint pains. There is also a variable skin rash during the roughly week-long illness. Dengue fever is a disease of warm climates.
Early diagnosis and treatment of dengue is critical as epidemics of the disease become larger and more frequent. An estimated 50 to 100 million people contact dengue each year in over 100 countries. Recent explosive outbreaks of the disease have occurred in Brazil with 120,570 cases so far in 2008 and Venezuela with more than 80,000 cases in 2007. Left untreated, patients may experience hemorrhage and shock, leading to death.