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Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Volume 58, n° 2
pages 308-316 (février 2008)
Doi : 10.1016/j.jaad.2007.08.042
Case Reports

The exanthem of dengue fever: Clinical features of two US tourists traveling abroad

Laura B. Pincus, MD a, Marc E. Grossman, MD, FACP b, Lindy P. Fox, MD a,
a Department of Dermatology at University of California, San Francisco, California 
b Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York 

Reprint requests: Lindy P. Fox, MD, 1701 Divisadero, Box 0316, San Francisco, CA 94143-0316.

Dengue fever is the most common identifiable cause of acute febrile illness among travelers returning from South America, South Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean. Although the characteristic exanthem of dengue fever occurs in up to 50% of patients, few descriptions of it are found in the dermatology literature, and discussions of how to distinguish the dengue exanthem from other infectious disease entities are rare. Chikungunya fever is an emerging infectious disease now seen in returning US tourists and should be considered in the differential diagnosis of dengue fever in the appropriate patient.


The purpose of our study was to report two cases of dengue fever among returning US tourists, provide a review of dengue fever, offer an extensive differential diagnosis of dengue fever, and raise awareness among dermatologists of chikungunya fever.


This study includes clinical findings of two returning travelers, one who traveled to Mexico and the other to Thailand, complemented by a discussion of both dengue fever and its differential diagnosis.


Limited to 2 case reports.


Dengue fever should be considered in the differential diagnosis of fever and rash in the returning traveler. Dermatologists should be aware of the distinctive exanthem of dengue fever. Recognition of the dengue fever rash permits a rapid and early diagnosis, which is critical, as dengue fever can progress to life-threatening dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome.

The full text of this article is available in PDF format.

 Funding sources: None.
 Conflicts of interest: None declared.

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