The monsoon season has hit India and the menace of Dengue looms large again. Each year Dengue infects thousands of people across the country and many of them succumb to the disease.
What is Dengue fever?
Dengue is a disease that is caused by a family of viruses. It is transmitted by female Aedes mosquitoes. According to the World Health Organisation, there are four distinct stereotypes of Dengue virus–DEN 1, DEN 2, DEN 3 and DEN 4–that cause the fever. According to WHO, hundreds of millions of people are infected by the virus each year. However, the more severe form of the disease–severe Dengue–which proves fatal in around 5 per cent of the cases, causes hospitalisation of nearly 5 lakh patients, most of them are children.
Approximately three billion people are at the risk of being infected by Dengue. Most of these people are the inhabitants of tropical or sub-tropical areas, urban Southeast Asia, the Americas, Africa and the Pacific.
What are the symptoms of Dengue?
Dengue has some flu-like symptoms but it shouldn’t be confused with flu. Symptoms of Dengue include severe pain of the joints and muscles, high fever, swelling of lymph nodes, severe exhaustion and rashes. The “Dengue triad” is a good way to spot the disease. The triad is a combination of fever, rashes and headache. This is characteristic of Dengue fever. The acute phase of the illness causes extreme muscle pains and high fevers. These may last up to two weeks.
A particular syndrome of the illness called Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) usually affects children younger than 10 years. This is a complicated form of the disease and handling it is highly tricky. It causes abdominal pain, hemorrhage (internal bleeding) and circulatory collapse (shock). This complication of dengue causes abdominal pain, hemorrhage (bleeding), and circulatory collapse (shock).
Is there any treatment for Dengue?
There is still no specific medication or treatment to cure the disease. In most cases, the treatment is symptomatic–controlling the symptoms.