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Dengue: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease caused by the dengue virus (DENV) and spread by the Aedes mosquitoes. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) around 400 million people are infected with dengue every year globally.

What Causes Dengue

Humans contract dengue fever when they become infected with the dengue virus (DENV), which belongs to the genus Flavivirus. There are five different serotypes of the virus and all of them can cause a full spectrum of the disease. The female Aedes mosquito becomes the carrier of the disease when it bites an infected person. The infected mosquito transmits the disease when it bites another individual. [1] .

A person can have dengue fever more than once and the second infection is usually much worse.

Symptoms Of Dengue [2]

About 4 to 7 days after you are bitten by the infected mosquito, the symptoms of the disease surface, which are as follows:

  • Headache
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Muscle, bone and joint pain
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Sudden high fever

Sometimes, the symptoms are mild and most people recover in 10 days, but in some cases, symptoms worsen and can become life-threatening. This causes a severe form of dengue fever also called dengue haemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome. It occurs due to plasma leaking, respiratory distress, fluid accumulation, severe bleeding or organ impairment.

The symptoms of dengue haemorrhagic fever occur 3 to 7 days later which are as follows:

  • Bleeding from the gums and nose
  • Continued vomiting
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Blood in the urine
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability or restlessness

8 Effective Home Remedies For Dengue Fever

Risk Factors Of Dengue [3]

  • Living or travelling to tropical areas like Southeast Asia, The Caribbean Islands, Africa, The Indian Subcontinent, etc.
  • Earlier infected with dengue fever virus.

Complications Of Dengue [1]

Severe dengue fever can damage your lungs, liver or heart. Low blood pressure to dangerous levels can cause shock, and even death.

Diagnosis Of Dengue

Diagnosing dengue fever is difficult because the signs and symptoms are often the same as other diseases like malaria, typhoid fever and leptospirosis.

Blood tests are done to check for dengue viruses.

Treatment Of Dengue [4]

There is no specific treatment for dengue fever, your doctor will recommend you to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Fluids like clean bottle water, soups, fresh fruit juices, and saline water are recommended.

If you have dengue haemorrhagic fever, you may need the following treatments:

  • Blood pressure monitoring
  • Hospitalization
  • Intravenous (IV) fluid and electrolyte replacement
  • Transfusion to replace blood loss

Prevention Of Dengue

  • Dispose of solid waste properly
  • Cover, empty and clean domestic water storage containers on a weekly basis
  • Use insecticides in containers that hold standing water
  • Use mosquito repellents and wear full-sleeved clothes
  • Use mosquito nets while sleeping
  • Try to avoid staying outdoors at dawn, dusk and early evening
View Article References
  1. [1] Khetarpal, N., & Khanna, I. (2016). Dengue fever: causes, complications, and vaccine strategies.Journal of immunology research,2016.
  2. [2] Zhang, H., Zhou, Y. P., Peng, H. J., Zhang, X. H., Zhou, F. Y., Liu, Z. H., & Chen, X. G. (2014). Predictive symptoms and signs of severe dengue disease for patients with dengue fever: a meta-analysis.BioMed research international,2014, 359308.
  3. [3] Thein, S., Aung, M. M., Shwe, T. N., Aye, M., Zaw, A., Aye, K., ... & Aaskov, J. (1997). Risk factors in dengue shock syndrome.The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene,56(5), 566-572.
  4. [4] Yacoub, S., Mongkolsapaya, J., & Screaton, G. (2016). Recent advances in understanding dengue.F1000Research,5, F1000 Faculty Rev-78.

Read more about: dengue causes symptoms treatment
Story first published: Wednesday, June 12, 2019, 18:05 [IST]
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