What is dengue?

Dengue is an infectious disease caused by viruses that infect humans through mosquitoes. The disease is characterized by fever – body temperature is 38-39 degrees Celsius, skin rash and pain /headache and often very strong pain in muscles and joints/. The disease is also called “breakbonefever” or dandy fever, because the unusually strong muscle and joint pains create a feeling in the patient that his bones are breaking.

Dengue fever is endemic in tropical and subtropical climate areas, but the World Health Organization has warned that the incidence of this disease is increasing and is also occurring in southern temperate latitudes. This is due to several factors:

  • International trade – cargo ships often carry infected mosquitoes, thus allowing the insects to reach areas where the disease does not occur.
  • Local and global climate change allows the survival of mosquitoes during the winter months as well.
  • Tourists and travelers can also carry the disease to areas where mosquitoes have not previously infected.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms and signs appear about 3 to 15 days after a mosquito carrying dengue virus serotypes 1-4 bites a person who has not been previously exposed to the virus. Fever and muscle and joint pain can develop in the first few hours after the initial symptoms, which are most commonly headache, chills, rash and swollen lymph nodes. Eye pain is also among the symptoms seen in most cases.

Clinical manifestations usually last about 2 to 4 days and then resolve, only to reappear with a rash affecting the body and part of the face. The rash resembles smallpox. It is characteristic for it to appear on the palms of the hands and the lower part of the legs. These skin areas remain unaffected in most viral and bacterial infections. Clinical manifestations last about 1-2 weeks, after which the affected person is completely cured.

Dengue Treatment

Fortunately, this viral illness is usually self-limiting, and adequate hydration and pain medication usually help the infected person cope with the infection. But most medical professionals warn of one danger in self-treatment at home.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen should be avoided because of the propensity of dengue virus strains to cause bleeding. Other medications such as paracetamol and codeine that do not belong to this group can be used.

In the more severe forms of the disease – the hemorrhagic and shock syndrome, which usually require additional supportive therapies, in most cases hospitalization is necessary.

Intravenous hydration, blood transfusions, platelet transfusions, stabilization of blood pressure, and other intensive care measures are often used in such more severe cases of the disease.

How can we prevent infection?

Disease can be prevented by limiting the opportunities for infected mosquitoes to bite people who have not been exposed to the virus. These insects are the main vector in the spread of the causative viruses.

  • Optimum protection is achieved by using repellents, which you must constantly apply from the skin, thus minimizing the risk of being bitten.

To clear rooms or areas of mosquitoes use aerosol insecticides. Their use should be very careful, avoiding direct inhalation of the spray.

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