What is dengue fever? An Overview.
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease that is mostly found shortly after the rainy season. Dengue fever is a painful, debilitating disease spread by certain mosquitoes-mostly
Aedes aegypti that occurs in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. There are four types of dengue virus.
Dengue virus is transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the species
Aedes aegypti and to a lesser extent
Ae. albopictus. This mosquito also transmits chikungunya, yellow fever, and Zika infection.
Dengue fever causes a high fever, rash, muscle pain, and joint pain. A severe form of dengue fever also called dengue
hemorrhagic fever can cause severe bleeding, a sudden drop in blood pressure(shock), and death.
Millions of cases of dengue infection occur worldwide each year. Researchers are working on dengue fever vaccines. For now, the best prevention is to reduce mosquito habitats in areas where dengue fever is common.
The incidence of dengue has grown dramatically around the world in recent decades. An estimated 3.9 billion people in 128 countries are at the risk of dengue infection according to the “World Health Organization”. The disease is now endemic in more than 100 countries of the world. Most cases occur in tropical areas of the world, with the greatest risk occurring in:
- The Indian Subcontinent
- Southeast Asia
- Southern China
- The Pacific Islands
- The Caribbean (except Cuba and the cayman islands)
- Central and South America (except Chile, Paraguay and Argentina)
Transmission of dengue fever:
Dengue fever is transmitted by the bite of an
Aedes mosquito infected with a dengue virus. The mosquito becomes infected when it bites a person with dengue virus in their blood. It can’t be directly spread from one person to another person.
Dengue mosquitoes only live and breed around humans and buildings and not in bush and rural areas. They bite during the day mainly mornings and evenings. After feeding on blood, females lay eggs in artificial containers containing water.
Dengue mosquitoes are not born with dengue virus in them, but if one bites a sick person having the virus in their blood, that mosquito can pass it to another human after about a week. People get sick 3 to 14 days after a bite from an infected dengue mosquito.
Signs and Symptoms:
- Muscle, Bone pain and joint pain (ankles, knees and elbows)
- Pain behind the eyes
- Swollen Glands
hemorrhagic fever or severe dengue – a life threatening emergency- include:
- Severe abdominal pain (sudden onset of fever, extreme tiredness)
- Persisting vomiting
- Bleeding from your gums and nose
- Blood in urine, stool and vomit
- Bleeding under the skin, which might look like bruising
- Difficult or Rapid breathing
- Cold or clumsy skin
- Loss of appetite, itching and restlessness
Several factors are contributing to the resurgence of dengue fever. There is no vaccine to prevent dengue.
Stay in well-screened housing:
When indoors, stay in air-conditioned or screened areas. Use bed nets if sleeping areas are not screened or air-conditioned.
Wear protective clothing:
When you go into mosquito-infested areas, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes.
Use mosquito repellent:
Use mosquito repellents on skin and clothing.
Avoid heavily populated residential areas:
The rapid growth of cities in tropical countries has led to overcrowding urban decay and substandard sanitation, allowing more mosquitoes to live closer to more people.
Reduce mosquito habitat:
Eliminate mosquito breeding sites around homes, discard items that can collect rain or runoff water, especially old automobile tires, discarded plastic container and green coconut peel. Eliminate mosquito breeding sites in areas where dengue might occur. Regular change in water in outdoor pot used for bird, pet and domestic animal.
- Rest and drink plenty of fluids
- Paracetamol can be taken to reduce fever as per doctor’s advice
- Sleep under a mosquito net