Dengue (breakbone fever) is a mosquito borne infection caused by a virus. It is contracted when one is bitten by an infected mosquito. Aedes aegypti is the primary carrier of the dengue virus. Aedes aegypti mosquito is common to tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. This disease can easily spread if an infected person is bitten by a mosquito, and another person is bitten by that same mosquito.
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Dengue can become deadly if the infected individual develops the life-threatening form of the disease, dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). The individual condition worsen and can be accompanied with shock, bleeding, circulatory failure and this may lead to death. DHF occur in individual who may have had a previous dengue infection with different serotype of the virus. This mean that after one infection, if a victim is bitten by a mosquito carrying another type of the virus, this can lead to DHF. There are 4 types of dengue virus. The danger of dengue hemorrhagic fever is that it can be mistaken for other illness. Therefore it is recommended that one should never overlook any symptoms of dengue. If treatment is delayed, the condition can advance to DHF which is the more serious stage of the disease.
What are the symptoms of dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever?
*. Sudden fever
*. Severe headache
*. Pain behind the eyes
*. Joint and muscle pain
When it advance to DHF
*. Sudden collapse
*. Skin hemorrhaging
*. Generalized bleeding
*. Cold, clammy skin
*. Shock with pulse (dengue shock syndrome)
At present there is no vaccine or antiviral therapy. Developing appropriate vaccine is difficult because a vaccine must provide protection against all four serotypes of the virus. Vaccination for only one could actually increase the risk of dengue hemorrhagic fever. Research is being done to develop an appropriate vaccine.
Dengue fever can be treated by fluid replacement therapy. This may include oral rehydration solutions or intravenous fluid replacement. Dengue patient is also allow to have enough rest.
How can you protect yourself from dengue virus?
Mosquitoes being the main vectors of dengue should be controlled. Their breeding environment is mostly in stagnant water found in containers, discarded cans, rain gutters, abandoned tires, flowerpots etc. Mosquitoes lay eggs in the standing water and in time the larvae develops into a mosquito and the cycle continues. The best way to control mosquitoes is to get rid of their breeding environment. Always make sure there are no standing water in your vicinity and always cover water stored in tanks and drums.
An infected person with dengue virus should be well protected in a free mosquito environment. This is necessary to avoid being bitten by other mosquitoes that may in turn transmit the infection to others.
If you live in dengue infested area, or you intend traveling to a region where dengue fever is prevalent, you can follow these safety suggestions.
*. Always wear long-sleeved shirts and pants (trousers).
*. Always use mosquito repellent.
*. Always sleep under mosquito treated net.
*. Stay in a building where the windows can be closed to keep mosquitoes out.
*. Avoid going outdoor at the time of the day when mosquitoes are most active.
Warning: Headache and pain are associated the dengue fever, and taking painkiller or anti inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin can aggravate bleeding. Healthcare experts warn against using such drugs.