Dengue viruses are believed to have originated in tropical forested habitats, moved from there to rural environments, and finally invaded urban centers. The word dengue most likely originated from Swahili, and following a series of modifications in pronunciation and spelling the word evolved to its present form. The earliest recorded epidemics of a dengue-like illness were in China during the Chin dynasty (265-420 AD). During the 18th and 19th centuries sporadic epidemics were reported in Asia and the Americas. Following World War II, the pattern changed from one of periodic outbreaks to one of continuous transmission of multiple virus serotypes in Asian cities. It was from that situation that DHF/DSS surfaced in 1954 in the Philippines.

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