Dengue’s Symptoms & Prevention
Dengue surfaced around 200 years ago and remains a serious health hazard, with often fatal consequences. Closer to home it made its first appearance in October last year and hung around until March 2007 and due to inadequate fumigation campaigns and lack of hygiene maintenance has re-emerged six months later, much stronger than before.
In such circumstances it is best to understand the nature of this dangerous disease. Dengue is caused by the Flavivirus, which is transmitted by the daytime biting mosquito. Aedes Aegypti.
The different varieties of the dengue virus all cause a similar illness. It takes between two to seven days for the disease to present itself after the mosquito bite. The disease can take one of these forms: Dengue Fever (DF).Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) or Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS).All three occur in South Asia as well as South-East Asia.
- High-grade fever, sore throat, malaise and chills. The fever has two phases with a characteristic break on the fourth or fifth day and then a reoccurrence of the fever commonly called the’ saddle back pattern’.
- Nausea, vomiting.
- Excruciating body and joint pains.
- Signs of DHF include tiny to large reddish spots on the skin, bleeding from the mouth, nose and gums. And blood in stool and urine.
- Continuous abdominal pain, vomiting, low blood pressure, decreasing levels on consciousness and subnormal body temperature are highly indicative of DSS.
1.Eradicating of breeding sites of the mosquito through extensive, thorough and timely fumigation and campaigns.
2.Use mosquito nettings, repellent mats and coils and anti aerosol sprays at home.
3.Positive cases should be screened from further mosquito bites to stop the disease from spreading.
Treatment in a hospital setting includes intravenous fluids (drips), paracetamol and in cases of DHF – blood and mega units of platelets.
Experiments are underway on a vaccine (Tetravalent Vaccine) which would confer immunity against all varieties.*
By Dr. Tariq Sohail
The writer is consultant physician at Al-Mustafa Medical Centre.