The World Health Organization (WHO) considers dengue as a major global public health challenge in the tropic and subtropic nations. Dengue has seen a 30-fold upsurge worldwide between 1960 and 2010, due to increased population growth rate, global warming, unplanned urbanization, inefficient mosquito control, frequent air travel, and lack of health care facilities.
Dengue is an acute viral illness caused by RNA virus of the family Flaviviridae and spread by Aedes mosquitoes.Transmission among human beings occurs by the mosquito Aedes aegypti and chiefly occurs during the rainy season. Dengue does not spread from person to person.
The principal symptoms of dengue are:
- High fever and at least two of the following:
- Severe headache
- Severe eye pain (behind eyes)
- Joint pain
- Muscle and/or bone pain
- Mild bleeding manifestation (e.g., nose or gum bleed, petechiae, or easy bruising)
- Low white cell count
Watch for warning signs
- Severe abdominal pain or persistent vomiting
- Red spots or patches on the skin
- Bleeding from nose or gums
- Vomiting blood
- Black, tarry stools (feces, excrement)
- Drowsiness or irritability
- Pale, cold, or clammy skin
- Difficulty breathing
Laboratory examinations to do:
- A decreased number of white blood cells (leukopenia), accompanied by a decreased number of platelet count (thrombocytopenia) and metabolic acidosis are the initial changes on laboratory examinations.
- serological detection of viral antigens (such as NS1) or particular antibodies are the preferred microbiological assays.
Treatment of dengue include:
- Fluid replacement and antipyretic therapy with paracetamol is the preferred therapy during the febrile phase.
- Care should be taken not to use other nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs.
There is no vaccine available against dengue, and there are no specific medications to treat a dengue infection. This makes prevention the most important step, and prevention means avoiding mosquito bites.
Some tips to protect yourself from mosquito bites:
- Wear Long-sleeve shirts;
- Wear socks;
- Wear long pants and consider tucking your pants into your socks;
- Wear light-colored clothing, since mosquitoes are more attracted to darker colors;
- Apply mosquito repellent to your clothing, shoes, and camping gear and bed netting;
- Wear a full-brimmed hat to protect your head and neck;
- Prevention of mosquito bites using insect repellants
As always, Prevention is better than cure…!
-Dr.Bhavani Sagar Surampally