Dengue can affect the liver

Dengue can affect the liver
When contracting dengue fever, dehydration occurs, however, there are other consequences of this virus, such as causing damage to organs such as the liver and lungs. Most severe symptoms occur after the third day.

Thus, damage can result in the development of hepatitis as well as liver failure. Similarly, organs such as the heart can be affected with myocarditis, or the brain with encephalopathy. Dengue can be mild or severe; if it is the second option, it can cause the patient’s death. 

On this subject, Dr. Gloria Brítez, a medical clinician at the Hospital de Clínicas, told the Última hora portal that: “Not all patients have the same complications; some have complications in the liver, others in the cardiovascular system, others develop pneumonia, others nothing at all”.  

In addition to this, it can cause edema in the abdominal area, in the liver, in the gall bladder and in the lungs, which can lead to pneumonia due to affection and dilatation. However, the possible complications will depend on the patient’s condition. 

It is understood that hepatitis usually develops due to overconsumption of acetaminophen. “If he has fluid in the lungs, the patient is going to have fatigue, cough. If he already has a previous cardiovascular or pulmonary problem, it will be complicated from that point of view. If he has a heart problem, we have to be careful because he is going to have more heart failure,” Brítez said. 

However, another possible symptom of this disease is a drop in blood platelets, which can trigger dengue hemorrhagic fever.


To go through this disease, the ideal is to go to the doctor to obtain an adequate treatment to the patient’s needs. In addition, it is advisable to: 

Keep hydrated: during and after dengue patients will be prone to contract other infections such as influenza, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, etc. It is for this reason that rest and precaution will be elementary, even one month after the disease. 

Alcohol consumption: as the liver is one of the most affected organs, it is recommended to avoid alcohol. 

No to self-medication: go to the doctor when you have symptoms of dengue, it is advisable to do the same if you have any ailment or sign after having had dengue. Avoid self-medication 

The use of mosquito repellents will be ideal to prevent dengue infection or, in any case, recurrence.

Ana Henríquez, Editor
Content intern Fundahígado América

Eugenia Jiménez Alvaréz, proofreading
Assistant to the Fundahígado América coordination
Bachelor in Biomedical Sciences


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Giving Tuesday: Join and Provide Hope

In Latin America and the Caribbean, there are children fighting liver diseases without access to the medical care they deserve. At Fundahiagdo America, we provide hope to these children by training medical personnel to provide pediatric liver care in low-resource areas of the region.



Génesis is 3 years old and was born in Costa Rica with a congenital liver disease.


Elías is a young adolescent with an advanced liver disease.


Jin received a segment of his father´s liver in May 2015.