Dengue is a painful mosquito-borne disease spread through mosquito bites. Aedes aegypti, the primary vector, transmits the virus to humans through a human-to-mosquito-to-human transmission cycle. Dengue is characterized by a high fever and flu-like symptoms.
However, dengue can take a more severe form known as hemorrhagic fever, which causes serious bleeding and an abrupt drop in blood pressure leading to death. The best preventive measures to tackle the menace of dengue are avoiding contact with mosquitoes and keeping their population at bay.
Who Is At Risk?
The most susceptible places for dengue are tropical and subtropical areas. Dengue affects millions of humans each year globally. Dengue most commonly occurs in Southeast Asia, the Western Pacific Islands, Latin America, and Africa.
However, local outbreaks are reported in Europe and the southern parts of the US as the disease spreads to new regions. As with many diseases, elders and children are more vulnerable to this virus.
How Widespread Is Dengue?
Research suggests that roughly 400 million cases of dengue are reported each year globally. But many people (80%) do not experience symptoms clinically.
Early Symptoms Of Dengue Virus
The symptoms of dengue fever vary from mild to severe, and sometimes an infected person may not develop any symptoms at all. About 1 in 4 people with dengue fever will manifest symptoms.
Mild symptoms of dengue are often confused with symptoms of other illnesses, such as fever, rash, aches, and pain. If you experience a high fever along with:
Dengue symptoms typically manifest within 4 to 10 days after an infection occurs. The symptoms may last 3 to 7 days, and most people take a week or so to recover.
Severe Dengue (hemorrhagic fever):
Severe Dengue can be life-threatening, and its symptoms include:
- Abdominal ache
- Persistent vomiting
- Blood vomit or blood in your poop (stool)
- extreme fatigue, irritability, and tiredness
- Blood coming out of your nose or gums.
Diagnosis Of Dengue
Diagnosing dengue fever can be complicated. The symptoms of dengue fever are mistaken for those of many other illnesses, such as chikungunya, zika virus, malaria, and typhoid fever. Your medical provider may draw a blood sample from your body for a lab test. They may also ask about your medical and travel history or possible mosquito contact.
Treatment And Cure For Dengue
- There is no definite treatment for dengue. Your health provider will recommend:
- Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water and fluids
- Taking acetaminophen (known as paracetamol outside of the US) to control pain and fever
- Avoid taking ibuprofen or aspirin. These medications can exacerbate the internal bleeding risk.
Severe Dengue Treatment:
Severe Dengue symptoms require immediate medical care. Internal bleeding, shock, and even death may occur. Your health provider will make recommendations accordingly as to when you should go to the ER.
Prevention Tips For Dengue
The best way to minimize the risk of the dengue virus is to avoid coming into contact with mosquitoes. Special care should be taken when living in or traveling to a tropical area. Precautions are necessary, and appropriate measures must be in place to reduce the mosquito population. Following are some preventive measures:
Here they are again, in simple terms and bullet points:
- Pick a bug spray with 20% to 30% DEET to keep away mosquitoes that can cause dengue.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when you’re outside, especially at night, to avoid mosquito bites.
- Make sure to empty buckets, bird baths, and any containers with standing water to prevent mosquito breeding.
- Fix any holes in your window screens and shut doors and windows to stop mosquitoes from coming in.
- Use a mosquito net when sleeping in places where dengue is common.
- If you’re expecting, try to avoid traveling to places known for dengue.
- Before you travel, check health advisories like the CDC to see if there are any disease risks where you’re going.
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are most prevalent in tropical and subtropical regions, transmit the dangerous disease dengue. Symptoms consist of high fever and flu-like symptoms and can shoot up to severe hemorrhagic fever.
There’s no specific treatment; prevention focuses on avoiding mosquito bites and controlling mosquito populations. Awareness and precaution are crucial in dengue-endemic areas.