All about Dengue
- Spread by: Mosquito bites
- Symptoms: Fever, chills, rigor and body aches
- Diagnosis: Blood tests
- Severity: 6% fatality rate
Dengue, a Viral infection spread by female Aedes mosquitoes, is endemic in India with more than 1,50,000 cases per year. The high frequency of rains, polluted streets and innumerable areas of water swamping creates the perfect environment for mosquito larvae to thrive. These larvae after 2-3 days evolve into fully grown mosquitoes. Once a female mosquito bites a human who is already affected with Dengue Fever, the mosquito sucks in not only some blood, but along with that the virus too. Then, while biting another human, transmits the virus. This is how Dengue is spread from one person to another.
Symptoms of Dengue infection start approximately 4-10 days after the virus enters the body; they include high grade fever, severe body aches (thus Dengue is often called ‘Break-bone Fever’), chills and rigor. Another feature commonly seen in Dengue patients is skin rash caused by reduced platelet levels.
Dengue can be diagnosed by testing blood for NS1 Antigen, IgG and IgM. Once a patient is diagnosed as Dengue Positive, daily counts of Platelets must be done to ensure they do not drop too low.
The main problem with Dengue Fever is reduced platelet counts, causing internal bleeding which finally leads to Shock and even death. This phenomenon is termed Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS). The patient must keep track of platelet counts daily to avoid delay in the diagnosis of DSS in critical cases.
Danger Signs: Bleeding from gums, urine, stool or any other mode of bleeding.
What to do?
- Keep your surroundings clean
- Use mosquito repellents and nets
- Don’t let any stagnant water remain for more than 12 hours
- Don’t self-diagnose: Contact a Physician if you have any of the symptoms
About the Author
Dr. Abhijit Ray
- MBBS, MD (Int. Med.), ISHF, FACP, FRSM
- Holds Certificates from Johns Hopkins University
- Holds Certificates from Harvard Medical School
- Gold Medalist Advanced ECG Interpretation American Board of Cardiovascular Medicine