Dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome (DSS) are major causes of childhood morbidity and mortality in many tropical countries. Increased intravascular permeability leading to shock is the cardinal feature of DSS. Fluid resuscitation to counteract massive plasma leakage is the mainstay of treatment. A double-blind, randomized trial comparing four intravenous-fluid regimens for acute resuscitation of 50 children with DSS was conducted. Colloids (dextran 70 or the protein digest gelafundin 35,000) restored cardiac index and blood pressure and normalized hematocrit more rapidly than crystalloids (Ringer's lactate or 0.9%-weight/volume saline). Dextran 70 provided the most rapid normalization of the hematocrit and restoration of the cardiac index, without adverse effects, and may be the preferred solution for acute resuscitation in DSS. Further large-scale double-blind trials are required to provide an evidence-based approach to the management of DSS.