Saturday, June 15, 2024

What is dengue? – Symptoms, causes and how to treat the disease

Dengue is a viral infection similar to the flu that affects infants, young children, and adults and is transmitted through the bite of a specific insect named Aedes mosquitoes; The main vector is ‘Aedes aegypti. In a low-intensity stage, dengue causes a high fever and pain sensation throughout the body, in addition to skin rashes. On a serious level, on the other hand, it can cause hemorrhages, low blood pressure, and even death.

The occurrence of Dengue:

Dengue occurs in tropical and subtropical areas of the planet, the most common areas being Southeast Asia and the islands of the Western Pacific, although there are also many cases in the Caribbean.

Causes of Dengue:

Dengue virus is an arbovirus of the genus Flavivirus of the family ‘Flaviviridae’. It has five immunological serotypes that cause the disease:

  • DEN-1
  • DEN-2
  • DEN-3
  • DEN-4
  • DEN-5

The origin of dengue is the bite of the infected Aedes mosquito that transmits the disease. If a mosquito bites a person infected with a dengue virus, the virus enters the body of the insect.

If that infected mosquito bites another human being, the virus is transmitted to that person.

When cured, the person is immunized to that type of dengue, but not to the other strains.

Dengue symptoms:

The symptoms of dengue infection begin between four and seven days after the bite. The most common are:

  • Very high fever, up to 40 degrees.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Dizziness and vomiting.
  • Rash on the skin.

In most of the cases, recovery occurs within a week, but there are some more serious cases that have other additional symptoms:

  • Pain in the abdomen.
  • Vomiting more frequently.
  • Bruises on the skin.
  • Respiration problems.
  • Feeling tired.

Dengue diagnosis:

The greatest difficulty in diagnosing dengue is the similarity of symptoms with other infectious diseases such as malaria or typhoid fever. The doctor will ask questions about medical history and recent trips and perform blood and urine tests. The problem is that the result of certain analyzes suitable for these cases take several days and would delay the start of treatment.

Dengue treatment and medication:

There are different treatments depending on the severity. In all cases, a necessary measure is to hydrate by drinking water. It is also appropriate to take paracetamol to reduce fever and help alleviate pain. If the dengue level is severe, hospitalization and perhaps a blood transfusion will be necessary.

Dengue Prevention:

The most effective prevention is not to travel to risk areas and, once there, use mosquito repellent that has a concentration of 10 percent DEET (N, N-diethyl-m toluamide).

It is also recommended:

  • Dress in light colored clothes that cover most of our body.
  • Avoid areas with flowers, wooded and wet.
  • Do not use perfumes or lacquers.
  • Place mosquito nets on doors and windows.
  • Avoid going in the car with the windows open.
  • Use insecticides at home.
  • Check that an insect has not settled on the edge of our drink; especially if it’s sweet.
  • Avoid walking barefoot.
  • Cover the garbage cans well.
  • If we tend the clothes on the outside or leave it out, we must shake it well before picking it up or before dressing it.
Teodora Torrendo
Teodora Torrendo
Teodora Torrendo is an investigative journalist and is a correspondent for European Union. She is based in Zurich in Switzerland and her field of work include covering human rights violations which take place in the various countries in and outside Europe. She also reports about the political situation in European Union. She has worked with some reputed companies in Europe and is currently contributing to USA News as a freelance journalist. As someone who has a Masters’ degree in Human Rights she also delivers lectures on Intercultural Management to students of Human Rights. She is also an authority on the Arab world politics and their diversity.

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