Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Top 5 Dengue FAQs

Dengue fever (referred to in some countries simply as dengue) is caused by the dengue virus, a mosquito-borne virus. The virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of a mosquito infected with any one of its four strains. On average, its symptoms appear within 3 to 14 days after the infective bite.

Dengue fever is a severe, flu-like illness that affects infants, young children and adults. Dengue haemorrhagic fever is a potentially lethal complication but early diagnosis by experienced physicians and nurses often save lives.

Though there is still no specific treatment for dengue virus, current medical advancements are inching their way closer to a commercial vaccine. Primary prevention resides mainly in mosquito control.

Is it possible for someone to get dengue more than once?
Yes. A person can suffer from dengue more than once in his lifetime because there are four different strains of the dengue virus (DV-1, -2, -3, and -4). Even if you have already been affected by one strain, it doesn't mean that you will be immune against the other three.

Can someone get dengue fever from an infected person?
No. Dengue is mosquito-borne and is only spread through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Is dengue fever life threatening?
Dengue fever per se does not carry any risk of death. But when dengue haemorrhagic fever (DNF) or dengue shock syndrome (DSS) develops, death may occur. However, with early diagnosis and proper treatment, patients with DHF and DSS can recover fully.

When should I be worried?
You should be on the alert after three to five days of continuous fever. You may be misled to believe that you are getting better, however this is the most dangerous period in which DSS or DHF can occur. If during this time you observe symtoms like sever pain in the abdomen, persistent vomiting, bleeding (small red or purlish spots on skin, nose bleed, bleeding from gums), and passage of black stools, you should go to the hospital immediately.

For DSS, look out for signs like excessive thirst, pale and cold skin (due to very low blood pressure), restlessness, and feeling of weakness.

How long does it take for someone to recover from dengue?
Generally, patients recover within one or two weeks. Some of which may feel tired for several weeks.

(Source: W.H.O.)