Dengue (pronounced DEN-ghee) is a flu-like viral disease that is caused due to the bite of the dengue mosquito. The fever is a hemorrhagic in nature. Those suffering from dengue symptoms face severe and even fatal complications. There is no specific treatment for the disease. The only way out is to control the spread of this disease by eliminating their breeding sites.
Dengue In The United States
Most dengue cases come to light in the tropical areas of the world. As far as the U.S. is concerned, travelers from abroad are more at risk of bringing in the dengue fever. The risk is higher for those living in the southern parts of the United States and the Texas-Mexico border.
Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions regarding dengue:
- Tell me more about how dengue is spread?
Dengue is spread by the Aedes Mosquito (commonly known as the dengue mosquito). The disease gets transmitted when the Aedes mosquito bites an infected person and then bites someone else.
- Which parts of the world are more susceptible to Dengue?
All tropical areas of the world that include Africa, Australia, Asia, Pacific and the Americas are vulnerable targets. The disease is most widespread in the Caribbean basin. All urban and rural areas are at risk. However you might not find any cases of dengue beyond 4,000 feet altitude.
- Where does the dengue mosquito live?
The mosquitoes that transmit this disease live and breed among humans. They are capable of breeding in anything that contains water and moisture like flower pots, discarded tires, oil drums, water storage containers etc.
- When does the mosquito bite?
Unlike the mosquito bite that causes malaria, Aedes mosquito bites only during the daytime.
- What are the immediate signs and symptoms of dengue fever?
The immediate symptoms are high fever, rash, pain behind the eyes, severe headache, and pain in the joints (also known as ‘breakbone fever’). Next follows nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. The rash disappears within 3-4 days. The initial fever last for about 10 days though complete recovery can take a month or more.
- What is dengue hemorrhagic fever?
While most dengue infections result in only mild illness, there are some cases that can progress to a hemorrhagic fever. Once the person develops dengue hemorrhagic fever, his blood vessels start to leak causing bleeding in the gums, nose, and the mouth. He also develops bruising that is a sign of internal bleeding inside his body. Without immediate medical attention, these cases can lead to blood vessel collapse or dengue shock syndrome.
- What is the treatment for dengue?
There is no specific treatment for the disease. However, doctors advise you to drink plenty of water and other fluids and take complete rest. Infected persons must also be quarantined to prevent the spread of this disease by vectors. The disease is ideally treated by replacing fluids and transfusions to control bleeding.
- How can dengue be prevented?
There is no vaccine that can help prevent dengue. All one can do is get rid of breeding sites, use mosquito repellents, mosquito zapper and mosquito control products to avoid the dengue mosquito.