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Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical

Print version ISSN 0037-8682On-line version ISSN 1678-9849

Rev. Soc. Bras. Med. Trop. vol.50 no.5 Uberaba Sept./Oct. 2017 

Images in Infectious Diseases

Dengue fever with thrombocytopenia and gingival bleeding

Fred Bernardes Filho1  2 

Caio Cavalcante Machado2  3 

Andreia de Oliveira Alves4 

1Divisão de Dermatologia, Departamento de Clínica Médica, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brasil.

2Departamento de Emergência, Hospital Imaculada Conceição da Sociedade Portuguesa de Beneficência, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brasil.

3Divisão de Reumatologia, Departamento de Clínica Médica, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brasil.

4Faculdade de Medicina, Centro Universitário Barão de Mauá, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brasil.

A 45-year-old man was admitted on the sixth day owing to classic dengue symptoms that included spontaneous bleeding from the gums and a purpuric rash. His white blood cell count on admission was 3.1 × 103/µL with a low platelet count of 2,000. On physical examination, gingival bleeding, scattered petechiae, and ecchymoses were observed (Figures 1A, 1B, 1C and 1D). Results of cardiorespiratory, gastrointestinal, and neurological examinations were normal. Chest radiography showed no pleural effusion and an abdominal ultrasound showed no free fluid in the cavity. The lowest platelet count (1.0 × 103/µL) was reported from the seventh to ninth day of the illness.

FIGURE 1 Dengue fever. A: Acute gingival bleeding (white arrows). B: Scattered ecchymoses and petechiae. C: Hematoma on the left arm after blood pressure cuff inflation. D: Multiple ecchymoses on the right arm. 

Laboratory tests revealed positivity for immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies to dengue virus. Subsequently, treatment for thrombocytopenic purpura due to dengue was initiated. Hydrocortisone 500mg/day was administered intravenously for 6 days, and, prednisone 20mg/day, for an additional 10 days. Two days after initiating treatment, the bleeding stopped, and by the ninth day post-treatment, platelet count increased to 30,000 cells/mm3. The patient’s hospital course was uncomplicated, he remained clinically well, and he was discharged with instructions to return for follow-up in the outpatient clinic. No spontaneous hemorrhagic events have occurred since, and platelet counts have remained within normal levels (Figure 2 and Figure 3).

FIGURE 2 Platelet counts during the clinical course. 

FIGURE 3 Disappearance of the hematoma as observed at the final follow-up. 

Acute immune thrombocytopenia can be linked to underlying conditions like connective tissue disease, lymphoproliferative disease, immune-deficient states, and viral infections, or to medications administered1-3. Thrombocytopenia associated with viral infection results from both lowered platelet production from megakaryocytes, and decrease in platelet half-life.


1. Cines DB, Blanchette VS. Immune thrombocytopenic purpura. N Engl J Med 2002;346(13):995-1008. [ Links ]

2. Kumar S, Khadwal A, Verma S, Singhi SC. Immune thrombocytopenic purpura due to mixed viral infections. Indian J Pediatr. 2013;80(5):421-2. [ Links ]

3. Ramírez-Fonseca T, Segarra-Torres A, Jaume-Anselmi F, Ramírez-Rivera J. Dengue fever: a rare cause of immune thrombocytopenia. Bol Asoc Med P R 2015;107(2):51-3. [ Links ]

Received: June 30, 2016; Accepted: November 08, 2016

Corresponding author: Dr. Fred Bernardes Filho.

Conflict of interest: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Creative Commons License This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License