Dengue is one of the fastest emerging mosquito-borne viral diseases in the world. As per the report of the “World Health Organisation (WHO)“, the incidence of dengue has increased 30-fold over the last 50 years. More than 100 million infections are reported every year in over 100 endemic countries, putting about half of the world’s population at risk.
What is Dengue?
Dengue is a viral infection spread from the bite of dengue infected female mosquito known as Aedes aegypti (primary vector of dengue). These mosquitoes are found in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Mild dengue characterized by high fever, rashes, muscle, joint pain and sometimes pain behind the eye. Dengue hemorrhagic (a severe form of dengue) sometimes cause a potentially fatal complication such as bleeding, shock (sudden decrease in blood pressure) and even death.
What causes Dengue infection?
One of four types of dengue viruses (DENV-1; DENV-2; DENV-3; DENV-4) can cause dengue. Infection from one type of dengue virus provides lifelong immunity against that same type of dengue virus, but not against other types. However, you can still get an infection with the other three viruses. Getting all four dengue viruses in your life is possible.
How does Dengue infection spread?
Dengue is spread by the bite of the female mosquito (Aedes aegypti), which is found in tropical and subtropical areas. The mosquito gets infected when it takes the blood of a person infected with the virus. After about a week, the mosquito can spread the infection while biting a healthy person.
Aedes aegypti is a daytime feeder: The peak biting time is early in the morning and in the evening before sunset.
What are the features of Dengue Mosquito? Or How to identify Dengue Mosquito?
The mosquito known as “Aedes aegypti” spreads dengue, and this is the same mosquito that can spread Chikungunya, Zika fever, Mayaro and Yellow fever viruses, and other diseases. The characteristic features of this mosquito are its white strips on legs and a marking that resembles a lyre on the upper surface of its thorax. This mosquito first originated in Africa but is now found in tropical, subtropical and temperate regions throughout the world.
In which season the chances of Dengue is more?
The disease occurs more frequently in the rainy season and immediately afterwards (July to October) in India, but in Europe or North America during summer.
What are the symptoms of Dengue Fever?
Dengue fever: symptoms usually begin four to six days after infection and last for up to 10 days. Initial symptoms are high fever (40°C/ 104°F) along with at least two of the following symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, headaches, pain behind eyes, rash, swollen glands, joint, bone or muscle pains.
Severe dengue: when progressing toward severe dengue, this critical phase takes around 3-7 days after the first sign of illness. The temperature will decrease, but this does not mean that the person is recovering. Whereas special care has to be given to the following warning signs as it could lead to severe dengue: severe abdominal pain, bleeding gums, persistent vomiting, blood in vomiting, fatigue/ restlessness, rapid breathing.
Get emergency medical assistance, when severe dengue is suspected as it may cause plasma leaking that may lead to shock and fluid accumulation with/without respiratory distress, severe bleeding, or severe organ impairment.
Dengue fever testing is done to confirm whether a person with signs and symptoms and recent potential exposure have been infected with the dengue virus. The dengue infection is difficult to diagnose without laboratory tests as symptoms may initially overlap with other diseases, such as chikungunya. Blood testing detects the dengue virus or antibodies produced in response to dengue infection. Primary two types of testing are available such as molecular testing (polymerase chain reaction, PCR) and antibody tests. However, these results confirm the presence of dengue infection, which includes NS 1 antigen positive by the first week, IgM antibody positive by the second week and IgG antibody positive by the third week and a sudden drop in platelet count.
These days, Dengue Duo rapid test kit is used to detect dengue virus NS1 antigen and immunoglobulin M (IgM/IgG) antibodies.
How to treat Dengue infection?
If you think or diagnosed with dengue, you should take plenty of fluids and rest. There is no particular medicine to treat dengue infection. However, you can take antipyretics (like acetaminophen) to relieve your temperature and joint pain. Children are at high risk for febrile seizures (fever fit) during illness, monitor them closely. Do not take aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAID) as they may increase the risk of bleeding. Monitor the hydration status closely during the febrile phase of illness. Drink lots of fluids (coconut water, juices, etc), eat fruits such as pomegranate, papaya, kiwi, citrus fruits such as oranges, etc., this can help a lot to recover from dengue. If someone cannot tolerate fluids orally, they may need IV fluids. Blood transfusion is required in patients with unstable vital signs.
How to prevent Dengue infection?
There is no approved vaccine to prevent dengue infection. Prevention thus depends on control of and protection from the bites of mosquito that transmit it. Protect yourself if you are living in or traveling to a tropical area.
By following a few things such as:
- Use mosquito repellent indoors and outdoors.
- Avoid densely populated residential areas.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.
- Use mosquito nets while sleeping.
- Getting rid of mosquito breeding areas such as pet dishes, empty planters, birdbaths, flower pots, cans any empty vessel. These areas should be emptied, or changed regularly.
Most common questions asked about Dengue / Q&A:
What are the warning signs of Dengue?
Some of the severe warnings signs of dengue include; severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding of gums, vomiting blood, rapid breathing, fatigue/ restlessness. Seek medical assistance immediately if you observe any of these signs.
What is the best treatment for Dengue fever?
There is no specific treatment of dengue However, drink plenty of fluids and fruits to avoid dehydration from vomiting and a high fever. You can take antipyretics (like acetaminophen) to relieve your temperature and joint pain. Monitor your hydration status closely during the febrile phase of dengue. If someone cannot tolerate fluids orally, they may need IV fluids. Your doctor may recommend blood transfusion if you show unstable vital signs.
Is Dengue fever dangerous?
Half a million patients infected with dengue are hospitalised each year, but most people recover after two to seven days. However, some develop dengue hemorrhagic fever after the initial fever declines; a more severe form of illness that can cause organ damage, severe bleeding, dehydration and even death. But with early treatment, the mortality rate for all dengue fever is currently less than 1 of 100 people.
How long will it take to recover from Dengue?
Most of the people recover after treatment within two to seven days. However, If you develop dengue hemorrhagic fever, you may be recommended to stay at the hospital, where you will be administered IV fluids. Dengue fever usually lasts between 5-14 days. Sometimes the fever may return for 1 to 2 days. You may experience tiredness for days to weeks after recovering from this illness.
What not to eat in Dengue?
There are few precautions to be taken in your diet if you are infected with dengue. Such as:
-Avoid high fibre foods, for example, whole grain cereals, green leafy vegetables, thick skin fruits, etc.
-Avoid processed foods, junk foods, Fried foods, oily and spicy foods, pickle, etc.
-Avoid excessive intake of tea, coffee, cocoa and other caffeine-containing beverages, etc.
-Avoid spicy food, foods cooked in saturated fats, sugary and carbonated drinks, especially raw uncooked vegetables.
What is the fastest way to cure Dengue fever?
There is no fastest way to recover from dengue as there is no specific medicine available for the treatment of dengue. If you suspect or you are suffering from dengue fever, you should use pain relievers like acetaminophen (paracetamol) and avoid medications which contain aspirin, which could cause bleeding. You should also rest, drink plenty of fluids and seek medical assistance immediately.
Can papaya leaves cure Dengue?
Papaya (Carica papaya) leaves are used to treat dengue patients as it triggers faster platelet production in dengue patients. It is believed that this platelet production activity is due to several active components present in papaya leaves such as papain, chymopapain, cystatin, L-tocopherol, ascorbic acid, flavonoids, cyanogenic glucosides and glucosinolates. These are the antioxidants that reduce lipid peroxidation, that exhibits anti-tumour activity and immune modulatory effects. All you need to do is crushing a couple of papaya leaves, boil and drink its extracted juice twice daily to beat the dengue blues.
How much platelet count is normal in Dengue?
The normal platelets count is about 1.5 lakh to 4.5 lakh per microlitre of blood. In viral fever, the platelets count reduces up to 90,000 to one lakh. In dengue-infected patients, this can go down to as low as 20,000 to 40,000 but reaches the normal once dengue is cured. In a viral fever, this count comes to the normal range gradually.
What are the home remedies to prevent Dengue?
In India, drinking the juice from the papaya leaf is one of the most common dengue home remedies. It is a common practice even at most of the hospital. However, drink lots of fluids, eat fruits such as pomegranate, papaya, kiwi, citrus fruits such as oranges, etc., can help a lot to recover from dengue.
What should be the platelet count in Dengue?
There is no specific data that says what should be the platelet count in dengue, but the normal range of platelets is 1.5 lakh to 4.5 lakh per microlitre of blood. In viral fever, it reduces up to 90,000 to one lakh. In dengue, this can go as low 20,000 to 40,000.
Can Dengue fever be cured?
Yes, although there is no specific treatment for dengue, it subsides after a few days to weeks. All you need to do is monitor whether the patient is hydrated and the patient’s platelet count. Fever and body pain in dengue patients can be treated with the use of paracetamol. Some hospitals practice giving papaya leaves extract to dengue patients, and this has shown the significant result in the recovery. Have plenty of fruits and keep hydrated as much as possible.
If you have any questions regarding Dengue infection, please feel free to drop a comment below. We will be happy to answer.
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