Can a Vaccine Prevent Dengue Fever?

Dengue is known to be prevalent in certain areas like the tropics and subtropics. In fact, there have been series of outbreaks in places like Central America, Cuba, Puerto Rico among others. The dengue fever virus have also been known to be imported from some areas like the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Tahiti and other countries in that region. Some tourist coming back from these areas have been found to have the dengue fever virus. It is important to note that Dengue has been found to be the leading cause of the acute febrile illness among U.S travelers that are returning from Asia, South America and the Caribbean.


What is Dengue Fever?

Dengue fever is a tropical disease that is mosquito- borne caused by the dengue virus. It could become serious in some cases. In fact, the disease has been known to develop into dengue hemorrhagic fever which is a life threatening disease. It is important to note that several species of mosquitoes spreads dengue fever. For example, the Aedes specie of mosquito is known to spread the dengue virus and the virus comprises of about 5 different types. It is important to note that the infection of one type of the virus will give immunity to that type of virus but a temporary immunity to others. Dengue has now become a global health concern as a lot of people continue to die every year due to the disease. The dengue fever virus incubates usually between 5 to 8 days before any signs and symptoms begin to show up in stages.

What are the Symptoms of Dengue Fever?

Dengue symptoms are mild in some cases making a dangerous illness. Some of the most common symptoms of dengue include headaches,  appetite loss, serious pain at the back of the eyes which sometimes gets worse as the eyes are moved, low back ache and the general feeling of unwell. The first hours of the illness could see a very serious aching in the legs and joints with temperature rising over 40 C with a low blood pressure and a low blood heart rate. As time goes on, the eyes starts getting red and there could be some skin rashes over the face which will likely disappear. However, it is important to note that the high fever which is a dengue symptom could last for just 2 to 4 days followed by a big drop in the body temperature accompanied with some serious sweating. But note that the drop in temperature is just a temporary reprieve and would usher in another rise in temperature after a day or 2 with some itchy rash which then spreads to the greater part of the body excluding the face.

What Causes Dengue Fever?

Dengue fever is known to be caused by any of the dengue fever viruses spread by mosquitoes which are known to thrive near or around human lodgings. The infection comes normally as a result of mosquito bite. For example, if a person infected with a dengue virus is bitten by a mosquito, then the virus will enter the mosquito and if this infected mosquito then bites someone else, then the virus will be transmitted to the person’s blood stream. But note that a person who recovers from dengue fever would now have immunity for the dengue fever virus that transmitted the infection. However, this immunity does not cover other dengue fever viruses. Dengue hemorrhage fever becomes a possibility when a person is infected more than once and it is deadlier.  Also, note that the dengue virus in the rainy seasons but can also breed in cans, plastic bags, water filled flower pots and any other attracting mosquito all year long. The virus in itself is not contagious and this means that a human to human transmission is not possible. The only way there would be a transmission is from human to mosquito and then to human.

Is there a Vaccine for Dengue Fever?

A partially effective vaccine was released in 2016 and became available in commercial quantity in places like Indonesia and the Philippines. Other areas that have obtained the approval for the use of the dengue fever vaccine include places like Costa Rica, Brazil, Mexico and Paraguay. The vaccine is known as Dengvaxia and it is produced by Sanofi. The composition of the dengue fever vaccine is based on the combination of the weakened yellow fever virus and each of the serotypes of the dengue virus. The vaccine is known to be 60% effective and credited to the prevention of about 80 to 90% severe cases according to 2 different studies of the vaccine. However, it is important to note that there are ongoing research work on dengue fever vaccine that is expected to cover all four serotypes and there is even a new serotype which makes it 5 at the moment. The program is also expected to cover this newly identified 5th serotype. The ideal vaccine is effective and requires just 1 or 2 injections, it is also safe and covers all serotypes, transported and stored easily. It is cost effective and affordable.

How to Identify Dengue Fever

Identifying dengue fever could be confusing for some people but there are few things to keep in mind when dengue fever is suspected.

Incubation Period: Dengue fever incubation is averagely between 4 to 7 days. Therefore be watchful when you are bitten by a mosquito to know when it is dengue fever.

Body Temperature: Dengue fevers are high. It comes, becomes normal and then comes back again. You should watch out for these signs

Flu-Like Symptoms: The initial symptoms of dengue fever are flu-like in nature. Check out for these flu-like symptoms.

Unusual Bleeding: This is also another dengue symptom that can help identify the illness.

Preventing dengue fever should be made a priority and that is by preventing mosquito bite in the first place and eliminating mosquitoes entirely. Current vaccine can prevent dengue fever according to reports; however, it is not known to be 100% effective but there is high hope that future vaccines will be 100% effective at preventing dengue fever.



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