Dengue fever, also known as breakbone fever, is a viral infection transmitted by the bite of an infected female mosquito species called aedes aegypti. It is usually linked to influenza because its course is similar to the latter disease. It affects any age across the lifespan, which includes the infants, young children, and adults, with more than 70 percent in Southeast Asia and Western Pacific. The factors
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the illness is caused by four unique dengue virus strains (DEN 1, DEN 2, DEN 3, and DEN 4). As per WHO, dengue symptoms appear in about three to 14 days (average of four to seven days) following the mosquito bite. Since there is no particular treatment for dengue fever, prompt clinical diagnosis as well as thorough clinical management by experienced clinicians and nurses often save lives.
Mild dengue fever symptoms include high fever, intense headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, body rash that disappear and appear, nausea, and vomiting, according to Medical News Today. Meanwhile, dengue fever may involve bleeding, thus, termed dengue hemorrhagic fever. The symptoms include bleeding from the mouth or gums, nosebleed, cold clammy skin, damaged lymph and blood vessels, internal bleeding as evidenced by black tarry stools, low platelet count after blood count, stomach upset, petichiae or small blood spots beneath the skin, and weak pulse.
According to Medicine Net, the prevention of dengue fever is primarily centered on the control and suppression of the mosquitoes that carry the virus that cause the fever. This implies that breeding grounds of mosquitoes should be destroyed, so that their multiplication and growth would be stopped. Generally, mosquitoes breed in areas with stagnant water, such as olds tires, trash cans, and flower pots or vases. Thus, people are encouraged by the government to remove stagnant water from these containers.
In line with the breeding grounds of mosquitoes, it is important to note the top breeding habitats of these carriers. As per the National Environment Agency, the top five breeding habitats in homes in 2014 include domestic containers, flower pots/trays, ornamental containers, plants, and toilet bowl. On the other hand, the top five breeding places of mosquitoes in public areas in 2014 include discarded receptacles, closed perimeter drains, gully traps, planst, and HDB Corridor scupper/ gullies.
People should also wear long pants and long sleeves for clothing, along with mosquito repellant sprays or lotion for protection, in places with endemic cases of dengue fever. According to NHS, sprays and lotion that contain diethylmetatoluamide (DEET) are effective in preventing mosquitoes from biting; but then, products that contain such should not be applied in infants less than two months of age. In younger children, lower concentrations of the substance (about 20 to 30 percent) should be used.
A person can also limit his exposure to mosquitoes by staying indoors for two hours following sunrise and before sunset. This is because the aedes aegypti mosquito bites during daytime, around sunrise and sunset. Therefore, rescheduling outdoor activities should also be considered to prevent being exposed to the mosquito carriers, as per Mayo Clinic.
Preventing dengue fever can also be achieved by staying away from residential areas with high population rates, since an increase in population also contributes to increased cases of the illness. According to Web MD, windows and door screens should be secure and free of holes. The publication also mentioned that mosquito nets could be used if sleeping areas do not have air condition or screens.
For the time being, there is no known vaccination available to prevent dengue fever, however, pharmaceutical companies are conducting clinical trials to develop vaccines against dengue. With the preventive measures above, the number of dengue cases will be reduced and the number of lives that will be saved will increase.