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Dengue – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

ID-100361122On the 23nd of January 2016, The Health Ministry & National Dengue Control Unit of Sri Lanka made statements to warn the public that as of now there is an outbreak of dengue in the city of Colombo. With 22 days into the New Year, there have been 1024 reported cases of dengue this year alone.

Dengue, we all can be life threatening if not immediately attended to by a medical professional.

What is Dengue?

‘Dengue is a viral infection transmitted by the bite of an infected female Aedes mosquito. There are four distinct serotypes of the dengue virus (DEN 1, DEN 2, DEN 3 and DEN 4). Symptoms appear in 3–14 days (average 4–7 days) after the infective bite. Dengue fever is a flu-like illness that affects infants, young children and adults.’ – World Health Organization http://www.who.int

In short, dengue is a viral infection, and it can be life threatening if it is not given medical treatment.

What causes dengue?

  • Dengue is spread by infected mosquitoes – most commonly the Aedes aegypti mosquito. An infected human is bitten by a mosquito, the infected mosquito then bites another human, and the cycle continues. Plus factors for breeding these mosquitos include a warm and humid climate
  • overcrowding and major urban centres

Where can you find Dengue mosquitoes?

  • Dengue mosquitoes only live and breed around your house and yard, i.e, urbanized locations as opposed to the great outdoors.
  • They like to lay their eggs in pooled water in domestic environments
  • They don’t like to fly far (50-200 metres at the most)
  • They rest in dark areas inside houses and underneath furniture. You’ll find them under beds, furniture, behind curtains etc.
  • They prefer to bite during daylight hours. This means that they are around during school times as well!

Symptoms of dengue fever

The following are a rough guideline to some of the symptoms of dengue, it is strictly advised that you seek professional opinions and treatment with regard to diagnosing and treating dengue.

The exact symptoms you get may depend on your age. In older children, teenagers and adults, the most common symptoms of dengue are:

  • a consistent fever that comes on quickly and lasts two to seven days
  • a headache – can be severe but usually isn’t
  • muscle and joint pain – dengue fever is also known as ‘breakbone fever’
  • a red rash that starts on your chest, back or stomach and spreads to your limbs and face
  • pain behind your eyes
  • feeling sick and vomiting
  • a metallic taste in the mouth
  • loss of appetite

The symptoms of dengue fever usually begin between five and eight days after you get bitten by an infected mosquito. However, the illness can be so mild that you might not notice any symptoms at all.

Young children with dengue often have a fever with a rash, but other symptoms are minor.

These symptoms can be caused by problems other than dengue fever.

Diagnosis of Dengue

If one has a persistent fever for more that 2 days then one should go for a complete blood checkup (CBC) and a Dengue Antigen test. These blood tests and results should be taken at the earliest to qualified medical professionals, i.e, doctors who will advice you on the best form of treatment.

If you or ayone you know could possibly be having dengue visit your healthcare professional for more details and treatment.

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information, provided in this article cannot be construed to be in any way substitutes for medical attention or prescribed medication. Consult your healthcare professional for more information, diagnosis and treatment of all illnesses.

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