Internal Medicine | Posted on 05/12/2020 by RBH
Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease that is transmitted by the bite of a species of mosquito known as the Aedes mosquito. Upon being bitten by the Aedes mosquito, which is the carrier of the dengue virus, the virus circulates in the blood of an infected person for approximately 2-7 days before symptoms tend to show up. Dengue virus is an infection of the blood caused by Aedes mosquitoes that breed inside or outside the house in containers holding water; these mosquitoes do not have a long life span and cannot fly more than 200 meters away from their place of origin. The mosquitoes are very active during the early morning and evening, though they are likely to bite at any time of the day.
As of today, dengue is a widespread disease with no specific cure but easily treatable symptoms, provided the infection in the blood caused by the dengue virus is diagnosed timely. Though generally not life-threatening, dengue can cause serious complications and even death in rare cases, where the diagnosis and treatment are delayed or the severity of infection in the blood caused by the virus is uncontrollable.
The dengue virus is spread by four closely related viruses known as DENV, spread through a special breed of mosquitoes known as the Aedes mosquito. The virus is transmitted to the human upon the bite of an Aedes mosquito that leaves the virus in the person, thereby infecting the human blood. Thereafter, the cycle continues through normal mosquitoes, which bite an infected human and become the carriers of the dengue virus.
Dengue fever can cause serious health complications and in severe cases can be fatal, if not detected and treated on time. Some common symptoms that can help detect dengue fever are:
Often, the symptoms are mild and hence are considered to be those of normal flu or an infection. However, severe dengue symptoms might tend to appear post 6-7 days of the bite of the infected mosquito. In most cases, recovery from dengue happens within a week but cases that record severe infection of blood and complications – such as leakage or damage of blood vessels, as well as dropping of platelets below the required count – might undergo some struggle to survive, since a severe infection of blood with dengue virus tends to become life-threatening. These severe cases of dengue virus infection of the blood are known as dengue shock syndrome and must be treated immediately to minimize complications and increase chances of survival.
Certain symptoms, which when noted, indicate the need for immediate medical help is:
Moreover, it is possible that a person who has contracted the dengue virus before to be infected with the virus again, since it is a group of four closely related viruses called DENV. Though one virus can only affect a person once in a lifetime, the other viruses can likely infect the blood of a person who has already been infected before with another virus of the family. These cases are called secondary infections and often result in more severe complications than primary infections.
There is no specific vaccination or particular medicine that can directly cure dengue. However, it aims to control and treat symptoms that ultimately remove the infection from the blood. Also, the treatment of symptoms is also dependent on the severity of the virus infecting the blood. If the symptoms are mild, painkillers with acetaminophen or paracetamol components are recommended, and any aspirin-containing medicines are instructed to be avoided. Moreover, rest and increased intake of fluids is recommended to fight the virus temporarily. However, to know the intensity of the symptoms, an assessment by the doctor is necessary.
The dengue virus is spread by the bite of the Aedes mosquito; hence, the best course of preventing the dengue virus infection of the blood is to prevent the mosquito bite by taking some steps such as below:
Moreover, if anyone known has contracted the virus, it is best to stop the virus from spreading further to other people by restricting any more mosquitoes from biting the already infected person.
The dengue virus is usually not life-threatening; however, in cases where the infection of the blood is severe, or it is a second-time infection, or even in cases where medical treatment is delayed, the dengue virus can cause damage to the heart, lungs, and liver. It can lead to the blood pressure dropping too low, causing shock and death in rare cases.
Currently, there are no particular vaccinations to prevent the dengue virus from infecting the blood of humans; however, trials are on to find a cure soon.