Dengue

5 mins read

Introduction
Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease that is caused by dengue virus. The disease is characterized high fever, rash, irritation of the skin, and severe cramps or muscle pain, whereas in severe cases, the symptoms may include blood pressure shock, hemorrhagic fever, profused bleeding, or even death. The diseases is also known as breakbone fever. The causative agent of dengue belongs to the genus Aedes. The pathogen, Aedes aegypti is the most prevalent agent of dengue.

Epidemiology
Dengue has been characterized as ‘fatal’ in many parts of world. In Africa, and Southern parts of America, the prevalency of the disease is comparatively high. The disease is second to malaria in terms of prevalency in developing and under-developed countries.

Causes
Dengue fever is caused due to the virus, which belong to the genus Flavivirus. The virus is spread with the help of a carrier, Aedes mosquito, and results in the development of dengue symptoms. The risk of developing the infection from the spread of the virus is known as dengue hemorrhagic fever. In most of the cases, recovery occurs; however, in more severe cases, proper diagnosis and early treatment are required.

Symptoms Of Dengue
Once the person is infected with mosquito bite, symptoms start to appear within 4-8 days. The symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe headache
  • High fever
  • Severe muscle cramps and/or joint pain
  • Skin rash and swelling
  • Pain in eyes
  • Bleeding, however, rare
  • Blood pressure shock (severe dengue fever)

Some of the symptoms associated with severe dengue include:

  • Sudden drop in blood pressure
  • Formation of clumps in blood vessels
  • Continuous vomiting and indigestion
  • Abdominal pain and stomach ache
  • Bleeding

Treatment Strategies In Dengue
Currently, no specific drugs are available to treat the condition. However, following are some of the strategies that are most commonly in managing the symptoms and alleviating the conditions of the individual.

Drugs
Various drugs have been indicated in relieving pain and fever associated with the symptoms. These drugs include: aspirin, paracetamol, ibuprofen, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Hydration
Intake of water has been recommended in the treatment of dengue. People who consume plenty of water seldom are diagnosed with signs of dengue. Maintaining hydration levels above the threshold limit has been found to significantly affect the symptoms and living conditions.

Blood Transfusion
It is usually recommended in more severe cases of dengue. In most of the cases, blood cells are the first ones to get affected. As a result, the oxygen-carrying capacity and immunity are significantly affected. This method, however, complex, is associated with elevated symptoms in the individuals. Complications

Complications
Dengue fever or hemorrhagic dengue fever is associated with other lethal complications, which include sudden drop in blood pressure, cardiac shock, severe internal bleeding, and death in most severe cases.

Prevention
Due to unavailability of any specified drug for dengue, it is recommended to follow some of the common precautionary measures to avoid the infection.

  • Use of anti-mosquito repellents, coils, or paper to ward off the mosquitoes at night.
  • Destroy the breeding habitats of the mosquitoes, still water, old containers, air-coolers, wet garbage, etc.
  • Avoid outdoor activities at night or early morning before dawn.
  • Use of proper clothing when visiting mosquito-breeding areas. Exposed surfaces should be well hidden with long-sleeve shirts, full pants, and socks.

Alternative Treatment
Besides the aforementioned treatment strategies, some alternative treatments are also used for treating dengue.

Homeopathic treatment
The medicine eupotorium perfoliatum is commonly used for dengue fever. In addition, ipecac is also used in dengue for the management of fever, discomfort, vomiting, and bleeding.

Papaya Leaf Extract
The extract from the leaves of papaya tree is used in improving platelet count in dengue patients.

Ayurvedic Treatment
In this procedure, the extract of the pegaga leaves and the papaya fruit are mixed. The mixture is known to have antiviral effects and significantly induces blood production.

Conclusion
Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease, which is characterized by high fever, skin rash, internal bleeding. However, in severe cases, the disease can lead to sudden drop in blood pressure, cardiac shock, or death. Various treatment strategies include hydration, drugs, papaya leaf extract, Ayurvedic medicine, and blood transfusion. The spread of the infection is prevented using mosquito repellents and clean, protected clothes. Early diagnosis is essential to reduce the risk of complications, including hemorrhagic dengue fever and severe bleeding.

Read More:
World Malaria Day: 4 Herbs That Relieve Symptoms Of Malaria
World Malaria Day: 5 Easy Ways To Prevent It
Science Says: T Cells Target Dengue Virus At Skin Infection Site

References
1. Champion SR, Vitek CJ. Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus Habitat Preferences in South Texas, USA. Environ Health Insights. 2014 Dec 4;8(Suppl 2):35-42.

2. Minh An DT, Rocklöv J. Epidemiology of dengue fever in Hanoi from 2002 to 2010 and its meteorological determinants. Glob Health Action. 2014 Dec 8;7:23074.

3. Edillo FE, Halasa YA, Largo FM, et al. Economic Cost and Burden of Dengue in the Philippines. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2014 Dec 15. pii: 14-0139. [Epub ahead of print].

4. Hermann LL, Gupta SB, Manoff SB, et al. Advances in the understanding, management, and prevention of dengue. J Clin Virol. 2014 Oct 20. pii: S1386-6532(14)00370-9.

5. Ramakrishnan L, Radhakrishna Pillai M, Nair RR. Dengue Vaccine Development: Strategies and Challenges. Viral Immunol. 2014 Dec 10. [Epub ahead of print].

6. Parreira R, Sousa CA. Dengue fever in Europe: could there be an epidemic in the future? Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2015 Jan;13(1):29-40.

7. Sahu R, Verma R, Jain A, et al. Neurologic complications in dengue virus infection: a prospective cohort study. Neurology. 2014 Oct 28;83(18):1601-9.

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