Dengue is a viral infection. Dengue is not spread from person to person, it is spread by infected mosquitoes, usually the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus varieties. These mosquitoes bite during the day, most often early in the morning or in the early evening before dusk.There is no vaccine or specific medication for dengue fever. A clear over view about the disease can help to prevent it.
Dengue in Bangladesh
Usually June to September is the dengue season in Bangladesh. The first case was diagnosed in early 2000. However in 2016 the country is experiencing a worse-than-usual attack of the potentially deadly fever because of the intermittent rains after an initial heavy monsoon and that leads to water lodging .
Causes of Dengue
Dengue fever is caused by any one of four dengue viruses spread by mosquitoes that thrive in and near human lodgings. When a mosquito bites a person infected with a dengue virus, the virus enters the mosquito. When the infected mosquito then bites another person, the virus enters that person’s bloodstream.
After recovering from dengue fever, you gain immunity to the virus that infected you but not to the other three dengue fever viruses. The risk of developing severe dengue fever, also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever, actually increases if you’re infected a second, third or fourth time.
These mosquitoes are often found living around sources of stagnant water in built-up areas, such as wells, water storage tanks, old car tyres, flower pot trays/plates,plants, opened perimeter drains etc.
Symptoms of Dengue
Many people, especially children and teens, may experience no signs or symptoms during a mild case of dengue fever. When symptoms do occur, they usually begin four to 10 days after you are bitten by an infected mosquito. Signs and symptoms of dengue fever most commonly include:
- Fever, as high as 106 F (41 C)
- Muscle, bone and joint pain
- Pain behind your eyes
You might also experience:
- Widespread rash
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rarely, minor bleeding from your gums or nose
Most people recover within a week or so. In some cases, symptoms worsen and can become life-threatening. Blood vessels often become damaged and leaky. And the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your bloodstream drops. This is known as severe dengue or dengue haemorrhagic fever.This can cause:
- Bleeding from your nose and mouth
- Severe abdominal pain
- Persistent vomiting
- Bleeding under the skin, which might look like bruising
- Problems with your lungs, liver and heart
- Breathing difficulties or fast breathing
- Cold clammy skin
- A weak but fast pulse
- Drowsiness or loss of consciousness
There’s no cure or specific treatment for dengue. Treatment involves relieving your symptoms while the infection runs its course. The following can help-
- Take paracetamol to relieve pain and fever.
- Avoid pain relievers that can increase bleeding complications like aspirin, ibuprofen,naproxen.
- Drink plenty of fluid to avoid dehydration from vomiting and high fever.
- Get plenty of rest.
If you have severe dengue fever, you may need:
- Supportive care in a hospital
- Intravenous (IV) fluid and electrolyte replacement
- Blood pressure monitoring
- Transfusion to replace blood loss
Prevention is the most important steps to reduce the risk of dengue infection. There is no vaccine available against dengue, and there are no specific medications to treat a dengue infection. This makes prevention the most important step, and prevention means avoiding mosquito bites.
The following can reduce your risk of being bitten:
- Reduce mosquito habitat: The best way to reduce mosquitoes is to eliminate the places where the mosquito lays her eggs, like artificial containers that hold water in and around the home. Outdoors, clean water containers like pet and animal watering containers, flower planter dishes or cover water storage barrels. Look for standing water indoors such as in vases with fresh flowers and clean at least once a week. Also, make sure window and door screens are secure and without holes. If available, use air-conditioning.
- Use insect repellent: products containing 50% DEET are most effective, but lower concentrations (15-30% DEET) should be used in children, and alternatives to DEET should be used in children younger than two months. When possible, wear long sleeves and pants for additional protection. Sleep under a mosquito net :If someone in your house is ill with dengue, take extra precautions to prevent mosquitoes from biting the patient and going on to bite others in the household.
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