Dengue fever is a mosquito borne disease caused by a dengue virus. Symptoms may include a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle & joint pains and a characteristic skin rash. In few cases, it may develop into a life threatening dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome. Several species of the mosquito of the aedes type spread dengue.
Most cases have occured in tropical areas of the world, with the greatest risk occurring in:
- The Indian subcontinent
- Southeast Asia
- Southern China
- The Pacific Islands
- The Caribbean (except Cuba and the Cayman Islands)
Symptoms of Dengue Fever
Symptoms usually begin 4 to 6 days after infection. They may last for about ten days. Symptoms include the following:
- High Fever
- Severe joint and muscle pain
- Pain behind the eyes
- Mild bleeding like nose bleed, gum bleed or light bruising
- Skin rash which appears two or three days after the onset of fever.
Sometimes mild symptoms can be mistaken for a flu or a viral infection. Even serious problems may also occur. Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a serious condition characterized by high fever, enlargement of liver, failure of circulatory system, damage to blood and lymph vessels and bleeding from the gums and nose. Symptoms can progress to severe bleeding, shock and death. This condition is called dengue shock syndrome.
Causes of Dengue fever
Four closely related strains of virus cause the dengue fever. These viruses belong to the family Flaviviridae. They are termed by virologists as DENV 1-4. If a person becomes immune to one strain, the person can still be infected by other three strains. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes transmit all the four strains of dengue virus. There is no human to human transmission of dengue fever.
To diagnose dengue fever, doctors use blood test. Blood test is to check for the virus or the antibodies for it. If you have become sick after traveling to a tropical region, then inform to the doctor. Based on this info, the doc can evaluate the possibility of the dengue infection.
Treatment and Prevention
There is no particular treatment or medicine for dengue fever. If you think you have dengue fever, you should use pain killers without aspirin. You should also rest and take plenty of fluids. If any serious complications occur, immediately consult your doctor.
There is no commercially available vaccine for dengue as of now. The best way to prevent the dengue fever is to prevent bites by mosquitoes.