India hit with dengue fever: Symptoms, Prevention and cure – All you need to know

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Currently, a number of Indian states are seeing a rise in dengue cases. Cities like Bangalore, Patna, and Kolkata are fighting the menace of dengue. State health departments are on alert as cases continue to rise. Even the famous cricketer Shubman Gill, who is playing for India in the ongoing ODI World Cup 2023, contacted dengue and was out for a few days. He has now been moved out of the hospital and is doing fine.

There is no need to be highly worried as dengue is easily preventable and also curable. Let’s look at all the information about dengue in India and how to handle the disease.

According to the World Health Organisation, Dengue, also known as “break-bone fever,” is a viral infection transmitted to humans through the bites of infected female Aedes mosquitoes, primarily Aedes aegypti. The disease is more common in tropical and subtropical regions, including parts of Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Here’s what you need to know about dengue:

Symptoms of Dengue in India: 

  1. Mild Symptoms: Many individuals infected with the dengue virus are asymptomatic or experience mild symptoms. These symptoms typically last for 1-2 weeks and include high fever (often reaching 40°C/104°F), severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands, and a rash.
  2. Severe Symptoms: In some cases, dengue can progress to severe dengue, which is a life-threatening condition. Severe symptoms often occur after the fever has subsided and may include severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, rapid breathing, bleeding gums or nosebleeds, fatigue, restlessness, blood in vomit or stool, extreme thirst, pale and cold skin, and weakness.
  3. Risk Factors: Individuals who have previously been infected with one type of dengue virus are at greater risk of developing severe dengue if they become infected with a different type of the virus. This phenomenon, known as antibody-dependent enhancement, can lead to more severe illness upon subsequent infections.

Diagnostics and Treatment of Dengue: 

  • There is no specific antiviral treatment for dengue. The focus of treatment is on relieving symptoms, such as fever and pain. Acetaminophen (paracetamol) is often recommended to control pain and reduce fever. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and aspirin should be avoided, as they can increase the risk of bleeding.
  • Most cases of dengue fever can be managed at home with rest and pain relief medication. However, for individuals with severe dengue symptoms, hospitalization and supportive care are often necessary.
  • A vaccine called Dengvaxia has been developed and is licensed in some countries. It is intended for individuals who have previously had dengue and live in areas where the disease is common. Several other dengue vaccine candidates are under evaluation.

Prevention and Control of Dengue: 

  • The primary method of dengue prevention is avoiding mosquito bites. Since Aedes mosquitoes are active during the day, take precautions such as wearing clothing that covers as much skin as possible, using mosquito nets (ideally treated with insect repellent) if sleeping during the day, and installing window screens.
  • Apply mosquito repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, or IR3535 to the exposed skin.
  • Use mosquito coils and vaporizers in indoor spaces to deter mosquitoes.
  • Eliminate potential breeding sites for mosquitoes by removing standing water from containers, flower pots, and other receptacles where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.
  • Community-level efforts, such as mosquito control programs and public health campaigns, are essential for preventing dengue outbreaks in endemic regions.

The government issues advisory as Dengue cases in India continue to rise:

Dengue is a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes that can cause a range of symptoms from mild fever and body aches to severe and life-threatening complications. While there is no specific antiviral treatment, supportive care can help manage the symptoms. Prevention strategies, including mosquito bite avoidance and vaccination, play a crucial role in reducing the risk of dengue infection and its potential consequences.

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