Facts about Dengue in India
Global incidence of dengue has drastically upped in the last few years. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are about 390 million cases of dengue fever worldwide, and of the total number of cases, 96 million require medical treatment. India also saw a doubling up of cases of dengue from 2014 to 2015 and the worst hit city was Delhi with over 1800 cases of the fever. 2016 isn’t expected to be any better and this has become a cause of concern for the country.
Dr Sushila Kataria, Division of Internal Medicine, Medanta the Medicity warns, “This year, monsoon is expected to be heavier and so, we must expect as many dengue cases. We are expecting at least a 25 per cent hike in its incidence than the previous year.” Though dengue trends have shown a more severe outbreak in alternate years, Dr Sushila believes that for past few years, the incidence has been getting worse each passing year.
Dengue and its symptoms
Dengue (pronounced daen-gay) is a mosquito-borne viral disease caused by one of the many closely related dengue viruses. It is an acute illness caused by one of the many types of mosquitoes in the genus Aedes Aegypti. Talking about its symptoms, Dr Mukesh Mehra, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Patparganj says, “Typically people infected with dengue virus are asymptomatic (80 per cent) and only only 5 per cent have severe illness.”
Early signs of dengue may include high fever, joint pains, headache, nausea, appetite loss, vomiting, dip in blood pressure and would perpetuate with a characteristic skin rash. Though mostly the fever doesn’t last beyond a week, some cases may develop more critical and pose life threatening danger. The latter situation is characterized by a drop in the level of blood platelets, blood plasma leakage or a severely low blood pressure.
Dr Mukesh adds that these symptoms show within the first 2 to 4 days of dengue’s commencement. Post that, one may experience a rapid drop in temperature and intense sweating occurs. A day with normal temperature and well-being goes by and the following day one might see an abrupt rise in temperature again. That’s when red rashes develop on the body. “However, rashes rarely occur on the face. The palms of the hands and soles of the feet may be swollen and bright red.”
The rare case when dengue develops into a life threatening disease is referred to as Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever or Dengue Shock Syndrome. The former is characterized by Haemorrhage (severe bleeding), blood plasma leakage, and an exceptionally low platelet count. While, the latter occurs due to dangerously low blood pressure, which may lead to a circulatory collapse (shock).
Incidence of Dengue
Though the fever can attack anybody, the ones with a weak immune system are at greater risk than others. “Dengue like all other viruses has undergone mutation and nearly four variant strains of dengue have been identified,” said Dr Amitabh Parti – Additional Director, Internal Medicine – Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon.
Dengue prevention plan
– Dengue virus is mostly active in the early morning and later afternoon.
– Tropical and sub-tropical areas are more prone to dengue outbreaks. Travellers from and across such regions can also carry the disease.
– Reduction of number of mosquitoes by improved water storage, proper waste disposal, and checking water stagnancy.
– Mosquito repellents are also quite effective but they should be used with the following points of caution: Avoid them for infants below 2 months of age; For infants older than 2 months, apply repellents containing 10 per cent DEET; Avoid applying them on palms, near eyes or mouth; Always read the instruction on the label, particularly for babies, pregnant and breastfeeding women.
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