Dengue fever is endemic to the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. As per the statistics given by the U.S Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are about 100 million cases of dengue fever each year across the world. Dengue is one of the most deadly diseases in today’s times. With no definitive cure for the disease and no immunisation available it becomes all the more difficult to deal with the infection. The fever caused by the virus mainly affects the immune system and the circulatory system of the body.
Dengue is a viral fever which is transmitted by the mosquito Aedes aegypti. The disease can be caused by one of the four subtypes of a virus known as Flavivirus. It is possible to catch a dengue fever more than once as it can be caused by one of the four subtypes of this virus. However, when one gets exposed to a particular type of virus of dengue fever, one may produce immunity for that virus for a lifetime. A dengue fever patient may suffer from severe muscle pain and joint pain, and hence the fever is also known as ‘break-bone fever’.
The symptoms start to show after four to eight days from a bite of an infected mosquito. One may suffer from a sharp rise in body temperature, acute back pain, headache, muscle pain and joint pain. All of these symptoms may lead to weakness. Also, small red spots on the skin may develop during the first few days of the disease.
The symptoms last for about 2-4 days, and then there’s a rapid dip in the body temperature with profuse
sweating. This may give some relief for a day or two, and again the body temperature may shoot up. Typical red rashes may appear again on the skin, and may cover entire body except the face. The soles and palms may turn red and swollen. In extreme cases, abnormal bleeding may occur from gums and nose.
There is no specific treatment for dengue fever, however, taking lots of rest and drinking plenty of liquids may speed up the recovery process. The disease may be easily identified and diagnosed from the symptoms. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as paracetamol may also give relief in pain.
If the symptoms become severe, the patient may have to be kept under observation in a hospital. Life-threatening complications rarely arise in dengue fever.
As there is no vaccination available for the dengue fever and as the virus is transmitted through mosquitoes, it is extremely important to control or eradicate the mosquitoes carrying this virus. Also, the general public should make sure that there is no stagnant water around them in trash cans, flower pots, open water tanks etc., as mosquitoes reproduce in stagnated water. Using mosquito repellents and wearing full sleeved clothes is advisable to avoid mosquito bites.