Dengue virus is the causative agent of Dengue viral infection. This virus bears four distinct but closely related antigenic serotypes, namely DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, DEN-4. These serotypes produce a similar clinical syndrome. However, there is a possibility to become infected multiple times by other types as the body confers life-long immunity only to particular serotypes.
Dengue Viral Infection:
Dengue viral infection can be simply termed as Dengue or Dengue fever. It is regarded as the most important mosquito-borne viral disease. Though rated as one of the neglected tropical diseases, in recent years serious impact on both public health and economy has been caused by Dengue fever worldwide. Dengue viral infection has been spread abruptly in the last few years in Africa, America, Southern China as well as in Southeast Asian countries like India, Thailand, Nepal where tropical and sub-tropical climates prevail.
In dengue, patients are occupied with extensive pain all over the body hence, this disease condition is also known as “Break bone fever”. In general, the first symptoms appear in a healthy person within 5-7 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.
Typical symptoms of Dengue include:
- high fever marked up to 103-104°F,
- severe headache,
skin rashes, generally between 2-5 days
- After the onset of fever
- Pain around the eye region,
- severe pain in muscles and joints.
Other conditions like shivering, nausea,
- vomiting, fatigue, breathing problems.
A blood test reveals:
- Sudden decrease in Platelets, White blood cells (WBC) and Neutrophils count.
- Increase the level of liver enzymes
If not detected and treated in time, these symptoms may exaggerate into lethal complications called Severe dengue. Also, subsequent infection with different serotypes increases the risk of Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF). This condition is even deadlier in nature.
Female mosquitoes of species Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus gets infected with Dengue virus after sucking the blood of an infected person. These mosquitoes are responsible for the transmission of dengue virus from one infected person to another. Thus, Mosquitoes acts as a Principal vector of Dengue fever.
Direct transmission between individuals is seldom possible. An infected human may exhibit either symptomatic or asymptomatic response and can remain as a carrier of this virus.
Mosquitoes once infected, are capable of transmitting the dengue virus for their entire life. It is better to know the complex life cycle of Aedes mosquito in order to understand the transmission process of the Dengue virus. You can learn more about it in Dengue Transmission -Nature.
These mosquitoes usually breed in standing water collected in containers, tire dumps, flower pots, water-based air coolers, etc.
Below is the list of major risk factors likely to provide a favorable environment for the spread of dengue viral infection;
- Heavy rainfall,
- high temperature,
- distance travel mainly in dengue affected areas,
- ineffective sanitation
- unmanaged settlement mainly in urban and semi-urban areas
No such specific antiviral treatment has been developed to date. All we need to rely upon supportive therapy based on the symptoms and patients’ body immune response.
Effective treatment against the dengue virus follows the proper diagnosis since the disease is usually being confused with diseases like yellow fever, scrub typhus, chikungunya, etc.
“NS1 Antigen Kit Test” can be used for confirming patient as Dengue positive. Treatment shall be performed as per the symptoms and blood reports. If possible, it is better to perform a regular blood test to check for white blood cells (WBC), platelets, and neutrophil counts.
Patients should be provided with plenty of fluids to maintain body fluid levels. Plain Paracetamol can be given in case of headache and high fever. Avoid medicines that increase bleeding tendency like Aspirin, Brufen, Corticosteroids since body platelets responsible for a blood clot is severely compromised during this viral infection.
With intensive care and early treatment, one can easily fight against this infection, otherwise, things may get worse leading to death.
The best way to combat dengue viral infection is to prevent the bites from infected mosquitoes. Control measures shall include:
- Destruction of breeding habitats especially around the residential areas.
- Use of personal protective measures like Mosquitoes nets, long-sleeved clothes, window screens, mosquito repellents creams.
Isolation of the infected person to minimize the chance of spread to another individual.
- As a whole, ensure neat and clean housing.
- The use of insecticides spray should be discouraged due to public health hazards.
- Vaccination is not in wide practices to immunize the general population against the dengue virus. Get more information on the status of the dengue vaccine in Questions and Answers on Dengue vaccines.
Dengue virus has been established as one of the worst mosquitoes-borne human diseases. Careful clinical detection and proper management of dengue-patient is significantly important to control its spread. Nevertheless, in the high-risk area, mass awareness programs can be an effective tool to make people familiar with the dengue virus, its transmission, and control measures.