Dengue Fever: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

What Is Dengue?

Dengue is a disease of tropical and subtropical regions, occurring epidemically. It is caused by the Flavivirus of the family Flaviviridae, an acute viral disease. It is also called ‘breakbone fever’ as it causes severe joint and muscle pain to such an extent, that the afflicted feels like their bones are breaking. Complete recovery from dengue can take as long as a month but it is a self-limiting disease that can last up to ten days.

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How Dengue Spreads?

  • It is a noncontagious disease. The infection cannot be spread by the infected person directly but if the person is bitten by a mosquito, a potential carrier of the virus. About six days from the start of the disease can be risky, as the mosquito carrying the virus can transfer it to others through biting.
  • A specific species of mosquito normally transmits the virus to human. The Aedes Aegypti (but often known as Aedes Albopictus) bites only during morning hours, bearing a resemblance to the chikungunya.
  • The period from infection to manifestation of symptoms is four to six days, but may differ with a range of three to 14 days.
  • This illness is a vector borne infection i.e., mosquito is the vector (carrier) of the virus which causes the fever, and the vector is both the same in dengue and chikungunya.

Dengue Fever Symptoms

Symptoms starts to show up within five to six days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

  • High-grade fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Intolerable headache
  • Severe joint and muscle pain that feels like bones are breaking
  • Skin rash that may remain on most of the body for three to four days after fever starts
  • Purplish bruises due to bleeding from the nose, gums or under the skin

Dengue Severity Sorting

Four grades of severity are recognized:

  • Grade I includes fever and constipation
  • Grade II includes all grade I symptoms as well as spontaneous bleeding (of skin, gums, or gastrointestinal tract)
  • Grade III includes grade II plus agitation and circulatory failure
  • Grade IV includes profound shock

Dengue Diagnosis

The diagnosis of dengue is performed via blood test. If antibodies are dispersed to fight the virus found in the blood, then it is dengue positive.

Dengue Treatment and its Prediction

If the symptoms are identified early, forecasting for dengue fever is manageable. If dengue is suspected try to start treatment as soon as possible.  Immediate medical attention is required to ease the aggressiveness of the disease.

How to Prevent Dengue?

Prevention must be done with some precautions:

  • Mosquito bites must be avoided. Using mosquito repellents that contain lemon eucalyptus oil is recommended.
  • Mosquito breeding sites should be eradicated at home, workplaces and anywhere that contains stagnant water.
  • Don’t store water in exposed containers.
  • Try to cover all water vessels with lids.
  • Keep windows and doors closed whenever possible to avoid mosquitos entering your home.
  • Wear long-sleeved dresses, long pants, socks and shoes when you are outside to protect from mosquito bites.
  • While sleeping use mosquito nets.
  • Dislodge the eggs of Aedes Aegypti by carefully scrubbing, washing and deeply cleaning any vessels used for water.
  • Special precautions must be taken during the morning and late afternoon as the Aedes mosquitoes usually bite during the daytime.

It is important to be cognisant of mosquitos potential threat to you and your family.  Small steps can help prevent major complications with this disease.  Prevention is always better than a cure.

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