Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease caused by the dengue virus. The virus has five types and an infection with one type, confers life-long immunity to that particular type and short term immunity to other types. Dengue virus is transmitted by an infected aedes female mosquito, (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus) after a bite. The mosquito gets the virus from an infected person and transfers it to a non-infected person through a bite (person to person transmission). Dengue virus can also spread directly from an infected person to a non-infected person. The virus can also be transmitted through blood transfusion, organ donation.
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms of dengue can begin anytime from 4-15 days after exposure. If symptoms are mild, it might be likened to a flu. Symptoms usually resolves on its own within few days and in rare cases, results to complications.
- High Fever
- Severe headache
- Muscle and joint pain
- Skin rash
- Nausea and vomiting
- Mild bleeding
- Abdominal pain
Although rare, complications may develop. Complications such as;
- Dengue hemorrhagic fever characterized by bleeding due to high fever.
- Enlargement of the liver
Diagnosis of Dengue Fever
Your doctor may conduct a series of test on you such as; Hematocrit (blood test to determine the ration of the volume of red blood cells to the total volume of blood), Elisa (to check for antigen or antibodies of the virus in your blood), virus isolation as well as other immunological or molecular test.
There are no specific medications for dengue fever but your doctor may prescribe some pain relievers to help relief you of pains. You will be required to take sufficient rest and keep hydrated. Your doctor may advise you to stay away from punctures to avoid the risk of bleeding, you may also need to avoid some medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin.
There is no vaccine for the dengue virus. Research is still ongoing and recently, a vaccine has been approved and is strictly recommended only for those with previous exposure.
Keep yourself from mosquito bites and you will be preventing yourself from getting dengue virus. This can be achieved by;
- using mosquito nets
- using insecticide in your home or office
- applying mosquito repellant cream
- keeping your environment clean
- Put on clothing’s that covers your body parts
- eliminate all breeding grounds such as stagnant water, garbage’s