Dengue, a mosquito borne tropical disease, which has been caused by the dengue virus. Dengue fever is a painful, debilitating mosquito-borne disease caused by any one of four closely related dengue viruses. These viruses are related to the viruses that cause West Nile infection and yellow fever.
How Dengue spreads?
Dengue is transmitted by the bite of a mosquito infected with one of the four dengue virus serotypes. It is a febrile illness that affects infants, young children and adults with symptoms appearing 3-14 days after the infective bite. Dengue is not transmitted directly from person-to-person and symptoms range from mild fever, to incapacitating high fever, with severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, and rash. There is no vaccine or any specific medicine to treat dengue. People who have dengue fever should rest, drink plenty of fluids and reduce the fever using paracetamol or see a doctor.
Severe dengue is characterized by fever, abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding and breathing difficulty and is a potentially lethal complication, affecting mainly children. Early clinical diagnosis and careful clinical management by trained physicians and nurses increase survival of patients.
Dengue Symptoms and Signs
The symptoms and signs for dengue begin about three to 15 days after a mosquito bite transfers a virus to a person previously unexposed to the viruses. Fever and painful muscle and joint aches can occur during the first few hours of symptoms when headache, chills, rash, and swollen lymph nodes first appear. Pain behind the eyes is also a common symptom. These symptoms usually last about two to four days and then diminish, only to reappear again with a rash that covers the body and spares the face. The rash also may occur on the palms of the hands and the bottom of the feet, areas frequently spared in many viral and bacterial infections. The symptoms may last about one to two weeks with complete recovery, in most cases, in a few weeks.
Diagnosing and Dengue Fever
Doctors can diagnose the Dengue fever by taking some of the test like blood test to check for the virus or antibodies to it. If you become sick after traveling to a tropical area, let your doctor know. This will allow your doctor to evaluate the possibility that your symptoms were caused by a dengue infection.
Treatment for Dengue Fever
There is no specific medicine to treat dengue infection. If you think you may have dengue fever, you should use pain relievers with acetaminophen and avoid medicines with aspirin, which could worsen bleeding. You should also rest, drink plenty of fluids, and see your doctor. If you start to feel worse in the first 24 hours after your fever goes down, you should get to a hospital immediately to be checked for complications.
How to Prevent Dengue Fever
To prevent mosquito bites, wear long pants and long sleeves. For personal protection, use mosquito repellant sprays that contain Deet when visiting places where dengue is endemic. There are no specific risk factors for contracting dengue fever, except living in or traveling to an area where the mosquitoes and virus are endemic. Limiting exposure to mosquitoes by avoiding standing water and staying indoors two hours after sunrise and before sunset will help.