Symptoms usually begin three to 14 days after infection and these may include a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a skin rash.
Recovery generally takes two days to a week.
In some cases the disease develops into severe dengue, also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever, resulting in bleeding, low levels of blood platelets and blood plasma leakage, or into dengue shock syndrome, where dangerously low blood pressure occurs.
Dengue is spread by several species of female mosquitoes of the Aedes type, principally A. aegypti.
Also known as the yellow fever mosquito, A. aegypti can spread dengue fever, chikungunya, Zika fever and Mayaro.
The mosquito can be recognised by white markings on its legs and a marking in the form of a lyre on the upper surface of its thorax.
Dengue fever is a virus that has five types; infection with one type usually gives lifelong immunity to that type, but only short-term immunity to the others.
Subsequent infection with a different type increases the risk of severe complications. A number of tests are available to confirm the diagnosis, including detecting antibodies to the virus.
Dengue is common in more than 110 countries, mainly in Asia and South America.
Each year between 50 million and 528 million people are infected and approximately 10,000 to 20,000 die.