Have you ever ask a question like, “why most cases of Dengue fever is common in tropical and subtropical regions? And also question like— why in some Southeast Asian countries, dengue is one of the leading causes of serious illness and death among children.
To answer all these types of questions, and also to give you detailed information on dengue, its types, symptoms, treatment, and prevention we formulated a post. In addition, all the information is to enrich the knowledge of the reader not for any research-related work.
So, start with us a journey of getting to know this fever in detail.
What is Dengue Fever?
Dengue is one of the pandemic-prone diseases that kill millions of life in various countries in the world. Dengue fever is an infectious disease that causes severe flu and sometimes causes a fatal complication. While talking about the other names, dengue and breakbone fever is the common term that describes this deadly disease.
As per data, about forty thousand people die every year from it, with a globally affecting 390 million lives. However, severe dengue which is previously known as dengue hemorrhagic fever was first in the notice in the 1950s.
Additionally, with its fast-spreading nature, it cost millions of lives in the regions of the Philippines and Thailand.
Quick Facts of Dengue Fever
Following are the are some important facts about dengue fever:
- The responsible organism for this deadly disease is Aedes Aegypti species of mosquito.
- Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes are usually everywhere— around the globe.
- The risk of transmission of dengue fever is about 40% of the world’s population that is 2.5 billion people.
- Most Common region— tropical and sub-tropical climatic conditions such as in Asia, the Pacific, the Americas, Africa, and the Caribbean.
- It takes 4 to 7 days of the incubation period to develop symptoms after the mosquito bite.
- In case of an easy diagnosis, there is a higher chance of getting fit.
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Types of Dengue Fever (Virus)
There are basically four stereotypes of viruses that cause dengue fever, following is the list:
All these viruses belong to the family of Flaviviridae and get its name from the yellow fever virus. Additionally, it is the group of a total of 53 viruses which causes other deadly diseases like tick-borne encephalitis virus, Zika virus, etc.
However, these viruses are relatively smaller in size, approximately 40–65 nm, and are spherical with a lipid envelope.
How Dengue Spreads? (Causes)
As stated earlier, Aedes aegypti species of mosquitos is responsible for dengue fever. But do you know, why dengue is a fast-spreading disease? This is because Aedes mosquitoes usually live closer to humans and feed on them and their cattle.
Unlike malaria, this disease can spread by four means. And in this topic, let’s take a closer look at how this dengue fever spreads.
1. From Mosquito to Humans: In this type, through the single bite of Aedes mosquito, the person can get a dengue virus.
2. From Humans to Mosquito: Sometimes, the above process gets inverse. And this time when a person has dengue fever and is nibbled by a mosquito. Then, there is a higher chance— a mosquito also gets dengue pathogens. And within a week, the pathogen infects the salivary gland of mosquitos. And when it bites another human, mosquito saliva gets transferred to the person. Hence, another case of dengue.
3. From Humans to Humans: However, if a person has dengue fever, and after that, they donate blood or organ, then another person, can also get this disease.
4. From Mother to Child: Additionally, if a pregnant woman is suffering from dengue fever, she may transmit the virus to her fetus during pregnancy or at the time of birth. Medically, this form of transmission is an example of vertical transmission.
Finally, there is no other way of getting a dengue virus.
Approximately, 100 million people get dengue virus annually in 100 endemic countries, while almost half of the world’s population is at risk of getting this deadly disease. But most of the cases occur in the hotspot zone which includes the following country or continents;
- The Indian subcontinent
- Southeast Asia
- Southern China
- The Pacific Islands
- The Caribbean
- Central and South America
- Northern Australia
Unlike malaria, dengue can also happen in both urban and rural areas. But research shows that it mostly occurs in rural areas.
Symptoms of Dengue Fever
Symptoms of dengue fever usually begin in between 4 to 6 days after the Aedes mosquito bite and last up to 10 days. It may include the following symptoms:
- Sudden high fever
- Severe headaches
- Pain behind the eyes
- Joint and muscle pain
- Skin rash appears after two to five days.
- Mild bleeding which includes nose bleed and bleeding gums
The above symptoms are generally seen in adults. While in the case of children and teens, they may or may not experience any signs or symptoms.
How Dengue Fever is Diagnosed?
By studying the preliminary symptoms such as headache, fever, pain in the eye, and a rash all over the body, doctors call for a blood test. Additionally, doctors also analyze the history of living in an endemic region of dengue.
However, it can also be difficult to examine because many times symptoms overlap with other viral illnesses.
Finally, to determine, if a person is suffering from dengue fever or not, health care professionals may use blood samples to test such as Immunoglobulin M (IgM) and Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay ( ELISA) to detect dengue virus antibodies in their bloodstream.
This test is based on antibody-antigen interactions.
1. Immunoglobulin M (IgM): When a foreign pathogen enters the body, the body starts making antibodies to fight against them. So, when your body senses any foreign pathogens there is a rise in IgM values, which defines the Immunoglobulin blood test.
2. Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA): It is a plate-based assay technique that can detect and qualify various components of blood. Majorly for the dengue virus, antibodies are generally used.
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Treatment & Vaccine For Dengue Fever
There is no specific treatment for dengue fever. But there are a lot of drugs to suppress severe symptoms. However, as per the doctor’s recommendation, one should drink plenty of water to avoid any dehydration condition from vomiting and a high fever.
A vaccine— Dengvaxia (CYD-TDV) can prevent dengue virus and are available in some countries. In addition, only people whose ages are in between 9 to 45 years can take this vaccine and is effective in all their four subtypes. However, Dengvaxia (CYD-TDV) vaccine is given in a sequence of three-dose shots.
While talking about its success rate, Dengvaxia can be effective in preventing 59% of dengue cases. This means people who were vaccinated could even develop dengue fever.
Prevention from Dengue Virus
As from now, you know, there is no available vaccine that is full-proof, and anyone living in endemic areas could cause dengue. So, you can do only one thing—protecting yourself from Aedes mosquito bites. These are the following ways to prevent yourself from mosquito bites.
1. Clothing: You should wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and socks, etc to reduce any inflammation from mosquito bites.
2. Mosquito Repellents: Use a repellent with a good amount of diethyltoluamide (DEET), usually 10% or a higher concentration, for longer durations of exposure. However, try to avoid in younger children and infants, as it can cause skin irritability and skin burn.
3. Mosquito traps and Nets: Use mosquito nets for sleeping. Meanwhile, try to cover all the windows and doors screens with an additional layer of net.
4. Avoid Scents: Don’t use scented soaps and perfumes because it may attract mosquito.
5. Camping Gear: Treat clothing, shoes, and camping gear with permethrin, or buy clothing that has been pre-treated. When camping or picnicking, choose an area that is away from still water.
6. Timing: Try to avoid being outside at dawn, dusk, and early evening.
7. Stagnant water: The Aedes mosquito breeds in clean-stagnant water. So, one should always check for the stagnant water near the place.
How to Reduce Mosquitoes Breeding?
The following pointer might help you to reduce the risk of mosquitoes breeding in your nearby places:
- turn buckets and watering cans upside-down, and store them under any shelter, so water cannot accumulate in them.
- remove excess water from the plant pot.
- level the soil in the nearby region to prevent small puddles from forming.
- regularly check for drainage blockages.
- use anti-mosquito valves, and cover any valves that you’re not using.
- regularly drain-out air-conditioning receptacles.
- prevent leaves from blocking anything that may result in the accumulation of puddles or stagnant water
Special Case: Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever
It is a syndrome that is specifically due to the dengue virus. However, it tends to affects children under 10 years of age. However, other names of DHF are Philippine, Thai, or Southeast Asian hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome.
DHF can cause serve fevers along with abdominal pain, hemorrhage (bleeding), and circulatory collapse (shock).
At first, it starts with continuous high fever and headaches. Additionally, respiratory and intestinal symptoms include sore throat, cough, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. The shock period eventually lasts for a week.
In some cases, Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever can often lead to Pneumonia and other inflammatory diseases of the heart (myocarditis).
Symptoms of Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever
In the majority of cases, people recover from DHF. However, in some cases, symptoms get worse and can become life-threatening.
When blood vessels get damaged, the platelet counts start dropping and eventually turned to be a Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever. And after that body starts showing DHF symptoms that are listed below:
- Abdominal pain
- Bleeding Nose and Bleeding gums
- Blood in urine
- Bleeding under the skin
- Difficult in breathing
- Cold or clammy skin
- Weak Pulse
- Blueness around the mouth
- Red or purple blood spots in the skin
Note: People with low immune system response are at higher risk of developing hemorrhagic dengue fever.
Diet Plan & Home Remedies for Dengue Fever
The following are some measures that you should take to minimize the severity of dengue fever.
1. Neem leaves: It helps to increase the platelets count in the blood and meanwhile, strengthens the immune system. So, for instance, you should eat neem leaves or drinks its juice 2 to 3 times a day.
2. Vegetables: Vegetables such as spinach, pumpkin, paprika, carrot, watercress, celery, broccoli, and beetroot can effectively increase the platelet count.
3. Fruits: Fruits rich in Vitamin-C and Vitamin-K such as lemon, orange, kiwi, strawberries, gooseberry, raspberries, and currants are effective in reducing dengue symptoms.
4. Papaya leaves: Papaya leaves increases the body’s platelet level and improves immunity. Just crush the papaya leaves and squeeze them to extract the juice.
5. Green Coconut Water: Coconut water provides not only vitamins A, B, and C, but also has minerals, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus.
7. Nuts: As we know, proteins are essential for normal platelet count. Thus, nuts and almonds, peanuts, and pistachios are good sources of proteins. As it is very beneficial but slightly difficult for digestion for dengue patients.
8. Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera is a wealthy source in nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, sodium, copper, and vitamins C, E, and B. Therefore, aloe vera juice has various medical uses. It can help in the formation of the platelet.
Note: Foods to Avoid— The food you need to stop when you’re suffering for dengue fever. Some of the foods you can avoid include oily and fried foods, caffeine, carbonated drinks, spicy foods, and high-fat foods.
Dengue fever is a dreadful disease and is an emerging public health problem in various tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. It is caused by Aedes Aegypti species of mosquitos.
However, common symptoms include sudden high fever, severe headaches, pain behind the eyes, joint and muscle pain, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. This all leads to drastically decrease in platelet count in the blood.
It is known that in recent years, an urgent need has been appreciated for a vaccine to prevent the morbidity and mortality from this disease in a cost-effective way.
We hope you get all the information that you are looking for. Still, if you have a question regarding this fever, then you can ask in comment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the death rate of dengue fever?
Ans. The death rate is about 2% to 5% if taking proper care. However, if it remains untreated the death rate would be around 20%.
What is the first sign of dengue fever?
Ans. There is no specific first sign but these are few signs and symptoms that may characterize a dengue fever. These are severe joint and muscle pain, fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, and skin rashes.
What is the best medicine for dengue?
Ans. There is no specific medicine to treat dengue infection. However, there is a vaccine called Dengvaxia (CYD-TDV) that can prevent dengue fever, with a success rate of 59 %.
What happens to platelets in dengue?
Ans. In dengue, the platelet count goes down drastically which is even lower than 20,000. However normal count of platelets is 1.5 lakh to 4.5 lakh per microlitre of blood.
How can I raise my platelet count fast?
Ans. Add more vitamin B9, C, D, K, or folate-rich foods in your diet. Additionally, you can include orange juice, spinach, asparagus, and leafy greens vegetables in your diet.
How long does Dengue Fever last?
Ans. Acute dengue fever lasts for about two weeks. But a feeling of weakness and fatigue last for about three weeks. And full recovery can take around 4 to 5 weeks.