Dengue Fever

General Information

The first believed cases of dengue fever occurred in the Philippines, Thailand and other middle eastern countries. Dengue is an infectious disease transmitted to humans through mosquitoes. The virus attacks the cardiovascular system which then radiates and spreads throughout the entire body. The disease ranges in severity of symptoms and how it affects the body. There are many different types of dengue fever which vary in severity. Some of these types include Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF), Dengue Shock Syndrome and also Severe Dengue.

Causes

The disease is caused by the dengue virus which is transmitted by mosquito bites and injected into the bloodstream. Mosquito population can be influenced by temperature, rainfall and rapid urbanization. Other mosquitoes that were not previously infected can become infected if they bite a human that has dengue fever. Once the mosquitoes acquire the virus there is no getting rid of it. Humans are actually the main carriers of the virus which serves as a source for uninfected mosquitoes. Countries below the equator are where most of the cases are reported due to the ideal climate and environment for mosquitoes. The most common areas are Brazil, Peru, India and Taiwan.
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Incidence

This disease is widespread through the tropics because of the ideal conditions for mosquitoes.The incidence of dengue has grown dramatically over time. A recent estimate indicates that there are 390 million proven dengue infections every year. This does not include the cases that are not reported or are not classified correctly. Dengue fever most commonly affects children but can affect anyone of all ages. The disease is not found to be hereditary so it's not limited to a certain ethnicity. Dengue fever is more of a self debilitating disease so its mortality rate is only 1%. However, Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) has a mortality rate as high as 50% when left untreated.

Signs and Symptoms

Dengue fever and it other types are difficult to diagnose since it resembles and is very to similar to other illnesses such as malaria. There is a large range of signs and symptoms of dengue fever. In the most common cases, symptoms include high fever, rash, and muscle pain. Other types of this virus also have different symptoms. In severe cases, such as DHF, symptoms include serious bleeding and shock. You can also experience bone and joint pain. Severe headaches and fatigue have also been reported in some cases of dengue fever.
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Diagnosis

Dengue fever is actually rare and only occurs in dense areas. It requires a medical diagnosis to determine dengue fever. There are two possible tests that can indicate and diagnose dengue fever. One of these is an antibody test which primarily diagnose a current or recent case of dengue fever. The test looks for certain antibodies produced by the immune system in response to the virus. The second test is molecular testing which tests for genetic material from the virus strain in the blood.

Treatment

There is no vaccine or cure for dengue fever. There is also no specific type of medicine prescribed when diagnosed. There are only ways to reduce the symptoms and prevent contracting dengue fever. It is recommended to take pain relievers to help reduce the pain and also to avoid medicines containing aspirin. As always, you should drink a lot of fluids and get plenty of rest. The disease is most commonly short term and only lasts for about two weeks. If symptoms continue to worsen then you should go to the hospital or consult your doctor.

Prevention

The best way to prevent dengue fever is by prevent mosquito bites from infected mosquitoes. This especially applies if you live in a tropical and warm area, which in adequate living conditions for mosquitoes. One of the most effective ways to prevent mosquito bites is to wear insect repellent, even when you're inside. Also using mosquito nets on doorways and windows keeps mosquitoes from coming inside. Another way to help prevent bites is to wear long sleeve shirts and pants when going outside. Weather is permitting however.