Health

All you need to know about dengue

What is it, how does it spread, what are the symptoms and how is it treated?

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Wednesday 06 July 2016

Dengue is known to spread after monsoon, but in the last couple of years, cases of the vector-borne disease have been recorded in summer as well (Photo via Creative Commons)

What is Dengue?

According to the World Health Organization, Dengue is a vector-borne disease transmitted by the bite of an infected female Aedes Aegypti mosquito. The mosquito becomes infected when it feeds on the blood of a person infected with the virus. After about one week, the mosquito can then transmit the virus while biting a healthy person.

How many strains of dengue are there?

There are 4 serotypes of the virus that causes dengue. These are known as DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, DEN-4. Infection with one strain will provide life-time protection only against that particular strain. However, it is still possible to become infected by other strains and develop into severe dengue.

Can it spread from person to person?

Dengue cannot be spread directly from person to person. However, a person infected and suffering from dengue fever can infect other mosquitoes. Humans are known to carry the infection from one country to another or from one area to another during the stage when the virus circulates and reproduces in the blood system.

Where does dengue happen?

Most cases occur in tropical areas of the world, including the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Southern China, Taiwan, the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, Mexico, Africa, Central and South America.

What are the symptoms of dengue?

Dengue causes flu-like symptoms and lasts for 2-7 days. Dengue fever usually occurs after an incubation period of 4-10 days after the bite of the infected mosquito. High Fever (40°C/ 104°F) is usually accompanied by at least two of the following symptoms: headaches, pain behind eyes, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands, joint, bone or muscle pains and rash.

What happens in severe dengue?

Severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding gums, vomiting blood, rapid breathing, fatigue/ restlessness.

What is the treatment for dengue?

There is no vaccine or specific medication for dengue fever. Patients should seek medical advice, rest and drink plenty of fluids. Paracetamol can be taken to bring down fever and reduce joint pains. However, aspirin or ibuprofen should not be taken since they can increase the risk of bleeding.

Patients who are already infected with the dengue virus can transmit the infection via Aedes mosquitoes after the first symptoms appear. As a precautionary approach, patients can adopt measures to reduce transmission by sleeping under a treated net especially during the period of illness with fever.

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