Dengue is a mosquito-borne illness caused by the dengue virus. The virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. The mosquito is found in tropical and subtropical regions around the world.
The dengue virus causes dengue, a member of the Flavivirus family. The dengue virus has four different serotypes: DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4. A person can be infected with any of the four serotypes, and once infected, they will be immune to that serotype for life. However, they can still be infected with the other serotypes.
The dengue virus is a small, enveloped RNA virus. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. The mosquito becomes infected when it bites an infected person. The virus then replicates in the mosquito’s salivary glands and is transmitted to the next person the mosquito bites.
Dengue is a significant public health problem in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 390 million dengue infections worldwide yearly. Of these, 96 million people will develop symptoms, and 40,000 will die.
Dengue is most common in Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. However, it is also found in Africa, the Middle East, North America, and Europe.
The incidence of dengue is increasing due to several factors, including:
- Increased travel and trade
- Changes in climate
- Poor sanitation
- Lack of mosquito control
The symptoms of dengue typically appear 4-7 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. The symptoms can be mild or severe and vary from person to person.
The most common symptoms of dengue fever include:
- High fever
- Body aches
- Severe fatigue
Sometimes, dengue fever can develop into a more severe form called dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). DHF is a life-threatening condition characterized by bleeding, low blood pressure, and shock.
There is no specific treatment for dengue fever. However, several things can be done to manage the symptoms and prevent complications. These include:
- Pain relievers
In cases of severe dengue, hospitalization may be necessary. Treatment for DHF may include:
- Intravenous fluids
- Blood transfusions
- Platelet transfusions
The most severe complication of dengue fever is dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). DHF is a life-threatening condition characterized by bleeding, low blood pressure, and shock.
Other complications of dengue fever include:
- Dengue shock syndrome
The best way to prevent dengue fever is to avoid mosquito bites. This can be done by:
- Wearing long sleeves and pants
- Using insect repellent
- Sleeping under a mosquito net
- Eliminating mosquito breeding grounds
There is currently no vaccine available for dengue fever. However, several clinical trials are underway to develop a vaccine.