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Thursday, 03 April 2014 06:36




Dengue fever, also known as breakbone fever, is a mosquito-borne infection that causes a severe flu-like illness. There are four different viruses that can cause denguefever, all of which spread by a certain type of mosquito. Dengue can vary from mild to severe; the more severe forms include dengue shock syndrome and dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). Patients who develop the more serious forms of dengue fever usually need to be hospitalized.



Symptoms of typical uncomplicated (classic) dengue usually start with fever within 4 to 7 days after you have been bitten by an infected mosquito. These symptoms include: high fever, up to 105ºF, severe headache, retro-orbital (behind the eye) pain, severe joint and muscle pain, nausea and vomiting, and rash. The rash may appear over most of the body 3 to 4 days after the fever begins, and then subsides after 1 to 2 days. There may be a second rash a few days later.

Symptoms of dengue hemorrhagic fever include all of the symptoms of classic dengue plus bleeding from the nose, gums, or under the skin, causing purplish bruises, which results from damage to blood vessels. This form of dengue disease can cause death.

How is Dengue Diagnosed and Treated?

Dengue can be diagnosed by doing two blood tests, 2 to 3 weeks apart. The tests can show whether a sample of your blood contains antibodies to the virus. However, in epidemics, a health care provider often diagnoses dengue “presumptively” by typical signs and symptoms without waiting for lab results. There are currently no vaccines for Dengue fever. The best way to prevent the disease is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes altogether.

The first outbreak of Dengue fever/DHF was reported from Kolkata in 1963. All the four serotypes of dengue are prevalent in India.

The most affected areas are West Bengal, Delhi, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana.

As there is no specific treatment for Dengue, the emphasis is on avoidance of mosquito breeding conditions in homes, workplaces and minimizing the man-mosquito contact. Community awareness and participation as well as intersectoral collaboration are crucial for effective control of Dengue.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO):

a) Approximately 2.5 billion people, or two-fifths of the world's population, are now at risk from dengue.

b) The disease is now endemic in over 100 countries.

c) Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a leading cause of serious illness and death among children in some Asian countries.

d) In 2007, there were over 890,000 reported cases of dengue in the Americas, of which 26,000 cases were DHF.

e) Dengue infection rates among people who have not been previously exposed to the virus are commonly 40% to 50% during epidemics, but may sometimes reach 80% to 90%.

f) Approximately half-a-million people with DHF are hospitalized each year, of whom many are children. About 2.5% of these patients die.

DHF fatality reads may exceed 20% if untreated. If there is access to medical care with health care professionals trained in treating DHF, the death rate may be less than 1%.






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Last Updated on Thursday, 03 April 2014 07:44

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