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What is Dengue and how is it caused?

Dengue is a viral disease that is caused by mosquito. It can lead to flu-like illness like high fever with headache, severe muscle and joint pain. In recent decades, the incidence of dengue has increased. Mainly, it occurs in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Let us read about Dengue fever, its symptoms, prevention, and treatment.    
Oct 30, 2019 11:10 IST
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What is Dengue Fever?
What is Dengue Fever?

If Dengue is mild then it causes high fever, rash, muscle, and joint pain but if it is severe then it can cause severe bleeding, a sudden drop in blood pressure and death. Severe dengue fever is known as dengue hemorrhagic fever. According to the Directorate of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), India has reported more than 67,000 cases of dengue fever till 13 October 2019. In the Karnataka state, around 12,756 cases are reported. In State and Union Territories of India, dengue is endemic. It is seen that due to floods and monsoon season, raining in certain states causes more fear of dengue cases. The stagnant water condition allows mosquitoes or vectors to breed.

What are the symptoms of Dengue ?

During mild case of dengue fever, hardly signs or symptoms occur in children or teens. If symptoms occur, it will last for four to seven days after bitten by an infected mosquito.

- Headache

- Joint or muscle pain

- Nausea

- Vomiting

- Swollen glands

- Pain behind the eyes

- Rash etc.

Why are mosquito bites so itchy?

Most of the people recover within a week or so. But in some cases, symptoms worsen and become life-threatening and cause severe dengue fever. In this condition, blood vessels damaged or become leaky. Platelets in the bloodstream drops. During severe dengue fever symptoms that occur are:

- Severe abdominal pain

- Blood in urine, stools or vomiting

- Fatigue

- Restlessness

- Difficulty in breathing

- Bleeding from gums or nose

- Bleeding under the skin etc.

How is Dengue Fever caused?

Dengue fever is caused due to four types of dengue viruses spread by mosquitoes. All the viruses are spread via mosquito species known as Aedes aegypti or by the Aedes albopictus mosquito. Let us tell you that the dengue virus comprises four distinct serotypes (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4). They belong to the genus Flavivirus, family Flaviviridae. Aedes aegypti mosquito originated in Africa but is also found in tropical areas around the world. When a mosquito is infected with the dengue virus and bites a person, the virus enters the mosquito. When this infected mosquito bites another person, the virus enters the bloodstream of the person.

Let us tell you that after recovery from the dengue fever, there is immunity to the type of virus that infected you but not to the other type of dengue virus types.

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How is Dengue prevented?

Vaccine can't protect against dengue fever. It is important to avoid mosquito bites.

Proper clothing may reduce the exposure to the amount of skin. Like wearing socks, long-sleeves shirt, etc.

- Use mosquito repellents.

- Use mosquito traps and nets.

- Netting or screens should be there in Windows and Doors.

- Scented soaps and perfumes may attract mosquitoes.

- Timely removal of stagnant water is a must. Aedes mosquito breeds in clean and stagnant water.

What is the treatment for Dengue fever?

As we know that dengue is a virus, so there is no specific cure or treatment. But an intervention can help depends upon how severe the disease is.

If the dengue fever is mild then certain treatments may help like:

- A person suffering from dengue fever suffers from high fever and vomiting which can lead to dehydration. So, a person should drink clean water rather than tap water. Rehydration salts can also be taken.

- Painkillers like Tylenol or paracetamol can help in the reduction of fever.

- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin etc. are not advised as it can lead to the risk of internal bleeding.

If the Dengue fever is severe then:

- Intravenous fluid (IV) supplementation can help.

- Patients suffering from severe dehydration, blood transfusion can be the solution.

- If symptoms get worse then hospitalisation is required.

So, now you may have come to know about the dengue fever and its causes, prevention, and treatment.

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