Dengue Fever: Symptoms, Causes & Prevention!

Dengue Fever also commonly known as Dengue is a viral disease cause by the Dengue Virus, spread by mosquito.

Usually occurring in the hot tropical countries it can now spread to every continent except Antarctica.

Dengue fever is also called “The Break Bone fever”.

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

  • Sudden onset of high fever over 40 Degrees Celsius
  • Headache & pain behind the eyes lasting two to seven days
  • Severe muscle & joint pain
  • Nausea & Vomiting
  • Rash & redness
  • Slight bleeding from the nose

COMPLICATIONS ARISING FROM DENGUE FEVER

In some individuals the disease can progress to an advanced phase called Dengue Hemorrhagic fever or shock.

  • Leakage of plasma from the blood vessels.
  • Fluid accumulation in chest & abdominal cavity.
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low blood electrolytes
  • Decrease in blood supply to vital organs.
  • Internal bleeding
  • Organ Failure
  • During the recovery phase, fluid accumulation in the brain can occur, therefore it leads to reduced levels of consciousness & seizure.
  • Inflammation of the brain.
  • Inflammation of the heart wall.
  • Liver failure
  • Inflammation of the spinal cord.
  • Severe muscle pain.
  • Dengue in a pregnant woman can lead to miscarriage & low birth weight.

CAUSES & RISK FACTORS FOR DENGUE FEVER

  • Dengue Fever is caused by the Dengue Virus.
  • It is a single stranded RNA virus (ssRNA) of the Flaviviridae family)
  • Similar to other viruses like West Nile Virus, Yellow Fever Virus, Zika Virus, etc.
  • The Virus has five types of strain, DENV-(1,2,3,4,5).
  • The Dengue Virus is transmitted by the bite of a female Aedes mosquito.
  • The virus can also be transmitted by infected blood products & organ donation.
  • Some risk factors;
  • Babies & children
  • In females.
  • High BMI index.
  • Genetic abnormality.
  • In people with comorbidities like diabetes, asthma, hypertension etc.
  • Weak immune system
  • Presence of open standing water, in wells, containers, pot holes, in which the mosquitoes primarily breed & lay their eggs.
  • Unhygienic conditions, contaminated water & food.
  • In case a person has been previously infected by one strain of the Dengue Virus, they may develop resistance against that strain, but do not develop resistance against the other strains.
  • In fact, being previously infected with a particular strain, a person can still get Dengue Fever from the other strains & is at higher risk for developing Hemorrhagic Fever.

DIAGNOSIS

  1. The primary diagnosis is done by examination of the physical symptoms & checking of the temperature, although it is difficult to differentiate with other viral infections.
  2. Tourniquet test is a physical test done to determine the number of small cracked hemorrhage marks, the higher the number of these marks can indicate a Dengue Virus infection.
  3. Blood tests can give a count of the blood platelets & lymphocytes which are very less in number when its Dengue.
  4. Additional blood & serum tests are done to detect viral load, viral antigen & antibody produced in its response.
  5. The most widely used method for diagnosing dengue is an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) which measures IgM or IgG antibodies in patient serum.

TREATMENT

  • Paracetamol
  • Infusion of blood products
  • Blood Transfusion
  • ORS therapy infused with dose of 20mL/kg in Dengue shock.
  • Keeping hydrated.

PREVENTION & MANAGEMENT OF DENGUE FEVER

  • A partially effective dengue vaccine is available, although it is only recommended in people who have already had the fever.
  • Using mosquito netting.
  • Biological insecticides
  • Pesticides
  • Application of topical mosquito repellent cream.
  • Eliminating the habitats & breeding ground of such mosquitoes, by filling stagnant water holes, drains, catchment areas with sand, covering them, etc.
  • Making medicine & testing facilities available in areas with the most risk of dengue outbreaks.