Dengue Fever (Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever [DHF])

What is Dengue Fever?

Dengue Fever is a debilitating (making someone weak and infirm) viral disease of the tropics which is transmitted from mosquitoes. This disease causes sudden fever and cute pain in the joints.

Common name and scientific name

Dengue Fever or Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever

Group: Group IV

Family: Flaviviridae

Genus: Flavivirus

Species: Dengue Virus

What causes it?
full1.jpg
Mosquitoes infected with Dengue Virus

Dengue Fever is caused by the Dengue Virus, which is a virus spread by Aedes mosquitoes. Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever is a severe and often fatal complication of Dengue Fever.

What are the symptoms? How long do they last? Is it deadly?

dengue_fever_image.jpg
Rashes
Sudden onset of severe headaches, muscle and joint pains, fever and rashes are some symptoms of Dengue Fever. The Dengue rash is characteristically bright red petechiae (small red or purple spot on the body). These petechiaeusually appears first on the lower limbs and the chest; in some patients, it spreads to cover most of the body. There may also be gastritis (inflammation of the lining of the stomach) with some combination of associated abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. The rashes usually last for 3-4 days. None of the se symptoms are fatal. Most Dengue infections result in relatively mild illness, but some can progress to Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever. With Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, the blood vessels start to leak and cause bleeding from the nose, mouth and gums. Bruising can be a sign of bleeding inside the body. Without prompt treatment, the blood vessels can collapse, causing Dengue Shock Syndrome. Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever is fatal in about 5% of cases, mostly among children and young adults.

Can it be cured? If so, how? If not, is there a way to at least treat it?There is no cure for Dengue Fever or Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever. The mainstay of treatment is timely supportive therapy to tackle shock due to bleeding. Close monitoring of vital signs in the critical period (between day 2 to day 7 of fever) is a must. Increase of water intake is recommended to prevent dehydration. People infected with the Dengue Virus should be kept away from mosquitoes, for the safety of others. A way to treat Dengue Fever is to replace the lost fluids. Some patients need transfusions to control the bleeding within the body.

How to prevent Dengue Fever


You can prevent Dengue Fever or Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever by:
  • Avoiding mosquito bites!
  • Eliminating pockets of stagnant water (these are the mosquito breeding sites!)
  • Not storing water in open containers, cover them with lids!
  • Prevent mosquito entry by closing doors and screen the windows!
  • Wear protective clothing when outdoors! (wear long sleeved shirts, long pants, socks and shoes)
  • Use mosquito nets at home!
  • Scrubbing and cleaning margins of containers used for water!
  • Cover overhead tanks to prevent access to mosquitoes!

Special precautions have to be made during the day because Aedes mosquitoes bite during the day.

Remember: There is no cure for the Dengue Virus!

Bibliography

Dengue fever images. (2008, July). Retrieved from http://images.google.com/images?um=1&hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&tbs=isch:1&q=dengue+fever&sa=N&start=36&ndsp=18
Dengue fever facts
. (2008, July). Retrieved from http://www.dhpe.org/infect/dengue.html
Dengue fever
. (2008, July). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dengue_fever#Signs_and_symptoms