Malaria's little brother
Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, also known as DHF, is a multisystem illness caused by multiple viruses. The disease causes vascular system damage as well as impairs the body's ability to regulate itself. Hemorrhagic fever also may cause hemorrhage (bleeding) around the body's openings but is normally not the cause of death. Most cases of DHF are serious and considered life threatening although some rare cases can be mild.
The Hemorrhagic Fever is caused by four different strands of the Den virus in the genus flavivirus. The main host of DHF is the mosquito Aedes aegypti (also the mosquito that carries yellow fever), although the virus can be hosted by rodents as well. This mosquito is normally found in the tropics where sanitation is low. Once infected a human can transmit the virus to another human
Common symptoms are but not limited to:
In many cases the fever will cause signs of internal bleeding and bleeding of the nose, mouth, and eyes.
IF the Case gets severe then patients may see shock, seizures, coma, delirium, and nervous system and kidney failure.
The first epidemic of DHF occurred in the late 1700s in Asia, Africa, and North America. Since then outbreaks have been sporadic and hard to predict. Currently DHF is spreading rapidly among the tropics due to several factors. Uncontrolled population growth in countries near the tropics have grown the infection rate. Secondly the living conditions in most of the DHF infected countries are low and unsanitary. Thirdly there is no current vaccine available or cure for DHF. The current death rate in most countries is 5% for infections. It is estimated that 2.5 billion people live in places that are at risk for the Hemorrhagic fever. The global distribution of DHF is very similar to that of Malaria.
Diagnosis of DHF is difficult because most physicians do not suspect the virus. Physicians must obtain travel history, obtain proper diagnostic testing, and then report the case. Testing is done by taking a blood sample and then confirming in a laboratory. It is estimated that most cases of DHF go unrecognized in the United States