The rise in dengue cases in the national capital has set alarm bells ringing with reports of 11 deaths in the last 15 days alone. Though Delhi is making the headlines over dengue deaths, there are also reports of at least 35 deaths (till August) this year across the country.
Here is an yearly data (from 2009) of number of dengue cases and deaths registered across the states and Union Territories.
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(For 2014: Provisional till 31st December | For 2015: Provisional till Aug 2015)
– Source: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
Here is a heads up on what you should know about dengue and how you can prevent it:
What is Dengue?
Dengue is a disease caused by viruses that are transmitted to humans by the bite from an infected mosquito. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is the most important transmitter (or vector) of dengue viruses. It is estimated that there are over 100 million cases of dengue worldwide each year.
What is Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF)?
DHF is a more severe form of dengue infection and it is infected by the same virus that causes dengue fever. DHF can prove to be fatal if it is not diagnosed and treated properly.According to CDC, with good medical treatment, mortality due to DHF can be less than 1 per cent.
Dengue does not spread directly from person to person, it is a non-contagious disease. The virus can only be transmitted through a mosquito that has bitten an infected person.
Signs and symptoms:
> Severe headache
> Severe pain behind the eyes
> Joint pain
> Muscle and bone pain
> Mild bleeding (e.g., nose or gums bleed, easy bruising)
Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever: DHF may last from 2 to 7 days with general signs and symptoms of dengue fever.
Symptoms including vomiting, severe abdominal pain, and difficulty breathing, may develop. This marks the beginning of 24-48 hours period which may lead to circulatory system failure and shock, followed by death. In addition, the patient may lose platelet count and could develop tendency to bruise easily, bleeding nose or gums, and possible internal bleeding.
There is no specific medical treatment of dengue infection. Persons with dengue should use pain relievers and avoid drugs containing aspirin. There should be plenty of fluid intake and rest.
If the situation persists, then consult a physician. If after 24 hours the fever declines and the person have vomiting and severe abdominal pain, he/she should be rushed immediately to the hospital for medical help.
How can I prevent it?
There is no vaccine and specific medications available to treat a dengue infection. The only way possible is to prevent mosquitoes to breed in neighbourhood. Outdoors, clean water containers like pet watering containers, flower planter dishes or cover water storage tanks. For indoors, look for standing water in vases with fresh flowers, air cooler tanks, and clean them at least once a week.
(Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)