The fever of dengue is a disease of tropical nature caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes. This virus can lead to a wide range of symptoms, including fever, headaches, rashes, and severe pain in muscles, bones, and joints.
The main areas of the world where dengue occurs are countries in Latin America and Southeast Asia . However, cases have also been reported in certain areas of Africa, as well as the South Pacific.
Currently it is estimated that there are between 50 and 100 million cases of dengue annually; however, the distribution is not very equitable at the global level. And it is that, while in the United States and Europe it is a very rare disease, in Latin America and Southeast Asia it occurs relatively frequently.
In the vast majority of cases, those patients with dengue in Europe and the United States have been infected with this disease while traveling to tropical areas.
What is dengue?
Dengue is a disorder caused by a virus transmitted to people by the bite of the mosquito that carries the disease. It is a disorder that is not spread from one person to another.
There are a total of four dengue virus serotypes: DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4. These cause two types of clinical four in relation to this disease.
On the one hand, dengue fever, the most common of all and which corresponds to the standard clinical picture. And, on the other hand, dengue hemorrhagic fever, which is less frequent and its symptoms are much more serious.
How is dengue spread?
This virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of dengue-infected female mosquitoes. The incubation period for the virus in question ranges from four to ten days; once the time has elapsed, the infected mosquito can transmit the disease throughout its life.
Infected people are dengue carriers. Thus, once the first symptoms have appeared, they can transmit the infection to Aedes mosquitoes . It is a diurnal species that generally lives in areas near water reservoirs.
Although not very common, dengue can also be transmitted through the blood; that is, through organ donation.
In no case can the virus be transmitted by contact with a sick person.
In general, the symptoms of this disease are mild in children under five years of age, as well as among those who suffer dengue for the first time. Thus, it is adults and those who have already suffered from this disorder at some point who, in the vast majority of cases, suffer the most serious signs.
The symptoms of dengue are the following.
- High fever , which can sometimes reach 40ºC.
- Episodes of very intense pain in the area behind the eyes, as well as in the joints, muscles and bones of various areas of the body. Dengue is sometimes known as “bone breaker fever”, which gives an idea of the great pain that this disease causes in the bones; The truth is that in no case does it break any bone, but it is the sensation that patients perceive.
- Headaches of great intensity and that occur with great frequency.
- Rash all over the body.
- Mild bleeding in areas such as the nose or gums.
- Bruising easily.
The first symptoms can appear at any time between four and fifteen days after the bite of a mosquito that carries the disease. As for their duration, they usually last around a week.
Once the time has elapsed, the fever gradually subsides. However, the rest of the symptoms can present a considerable worsening. The haemorrhages take on a serious nature and, in addition, there are other more serious signs: severe abdominal pain, respiratory problems, dehydration and a sudden drop in blood pressure. They are signs that pose a great risk to life for those who suffer from them, so they require immediate medical attention.
It is worth noting that any patient suffering from dengue disease becomes immune to the type of virus with which they have been infected. However, you can be re-infected with any of the other three viruses that exist for this disease.
Once the symptoms described in the previous section appear, it is important to see a doctor to establish the diagnosis and the most appropriate treatment for it. First, he asks the patient about the symptoms he presents, as well as if he has made any trips to endemic areas .
Next, if there is any suspicion of dengue, the most common test is the loop or tourniquet . This is responsible for indirectly measuring the fragility shown by capillaries. To do this, the cuff of a blood pressure monitor is placed on the patient’s forearm for five minutes at medium pressure. Thus, if after that time the patient has more than thirty small red dots, the diagnosis of dengue is confirmed.
Additionally, a blood test known as a hemogram is performed; allows to assess the levels of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets in the blood . If the patient in question has dengue, the levels of red blood cells and platelets are lower than normal. The hematocrit, the percentage of the blood volume that is made up of red blood cells, is also determined; if the levels are high, it implies that the patient is dehydrated.
Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the next step is to detect the type of virus in question. To do this, a test is carried out that allows the determination of virus antigens in the blood.
So far there is no type of medicine that is specifically designed to combat the dengue virus. Thus, the treatment is aimed at alleviating the symptoms of the disease .
Medications such as acetaminophen are often given to relieve elevated body temperature , one of the most common signs of dengue. In no case should analgesics from the group of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or aspirin be taken because they can considerably increase the risk of bleeding.
In the case of dengue hemorrhagic fever , the most serious manifestation of this disorder, the treatment is more aggressive. Sometimes the administration of platelet concentrate is necessary, as well as the transfusion of blood if the hemorrhage is abundant. In addition, it is essential to constantly evaluate the vital signs of the body, such as pulse, heart rate and blood pressure.
Of course, rest is essential. A patient with dengue must maintain bed rest for a few weeks.
In the most severe cases, dengue can become complicated, leading to hemorrhagic shock ; a life-threatening situation as blood does not flow to the main organs of the body.
How to prevent dengue dengue?
So far there is no vaccine that provides immunity against this virus . Therefore, the only way to avoid the disease is to take into consideration a series of basic precautions.
The recommendations are largely aimed at avoiding mosquito bites , avoiding areas where water accumulates, such as ponds or ponds. In addition, it is important to use clothing that protects against this type of bite, such as long pants and long-sleeved shirts; You should also avoid the use of perfumes, as well as brightly colored garments.
Of course, it is also advisable to use spray repellent containing permethrin for clothing ; and is that mosquitoes can even bite through it.
Hygiene is also a very important issue when it comes to preventing dengue. Thus, it is vital to prevent garbage from accumulating, as well as to leave containers in which water accumulates.
And finally, when it comes to resting, it is very important to use mosquito nets to greatly avoid the bite of this insect.
As we have pointed out, each year there are between 50 and 100 million cases of dengue worldwide . It is a tropical disease that gives rise to a large selection of symptoms, which affect the entire body. It is important that at the slightest suspicion of this virus, a doctor is consulted to establish a diagnosis and, if necessary, determine the most appropriate treatment.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.