All you need to know about dengue

Updated at: Aug 26, 2010
All you need to know about dengue

Dengue fever is a virus-based disease spread by mosquitoes.

Manushree Chaumal
Communicable DiseasesWritten by: Manushree ChaumalPublished at: Aug 26, 2010

What is dengue?


Dengue fever is a virus-based disease spread by mosquitoes.


How does it spread?


The viruses are transmitted to humans through the bite of infective female Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes. Mosquitoes generally acquire the virus while feeding on the blood of an infected person. After virus incubation for eight to ten days, an infected mosquito is capable, during probing and blood feeding, of transmitting the virus for the rest of its life. Infected humans are the main carriers and multipliers of the virus, serving as a source of the virus for uninfected mosquitoes. The virus circulates in the blood of infected humans for two to seven days, at approximately the same time that they have a fever;




"Dengue fever begins with a sudden high fever and flat, red rashes may appear over most of the body two to five days after the fever starts. Other symptoms include headache (especially behind the eyes), fatigue, joint aches, muscle aches, nausea, swollen lymph nodes, and vomiting, etc," added Dr Mishra.




Tests that may be done to diagnose this condition include Antibody titer for dengue virus types, Complete blood count (CBC), Serology studies to look for antibodies to dengue viruses.




"Don't allow water to collect anywhere. Prevent mosquitoes, use nets and apply mosquito repellent creams before sleeping. Since mosquitoes are the only carriers of dengue, all possible measures to prevent them should be adopted," said Dr Mishra.


Myths surrounding Dengue


Myth: Dengue mosquitoes breed in dirty water.
Fact:  Actually, this type of mosquito breeds in clean, stagnant water. This adds to the danger of the disease in  households since there are so many unexpected objects and places in a typical home where clean water collect and mosquitoes can breed such as  flower vases, dish drains, water containers, etc.


Myth: Dengue can only be contracted once.
Fact: There are four strains of the dengue virus. People who had already been infected by one particular strain will not be affected by that strain again but they may still be at risk of being infected by another strains, so it never safe for someone to assume that he or she is already immune.




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