What is dengue?
Dengue (pronounced DENgee) fever is a painful, debilitating mosquito-borne disease caused by any one of four closely related dengue viruses. These viruses are related to the viruses that cause West Nile infection and yellow fever. Those who become infected with the virus a second time are at a significantly greater risk of developing severe diseases. Dengue fever is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito infected with a dengue virus. The mosquito becomes infected when it bites a person with the dengue virus in their blood. It can’t be spread directly from one person to another person.
Where does dengue occur generally?
An estimated 400 million dengue infections occur worldwide each year, with about 96 million resulting in illness. Most cases occur in tropical areas of the world, with the greatest risk occurring in:
- The Indian subcontinent
- Southeast Asia
- Southern China
- The Pacific Islands
- The Caribbean (except Cuba and the Cayman Islands)
- Central and South America (except Chile, Paraguay, and Argentina)
Most cases in the United States occur in people who contracted the infection while traveling abroad. But the risk is increasing for people living along the Texas-Mexico border and in other parts of the southern United States. In 2014, an outbreak of dengue fever was identified in Hawaii with other outbreaks in 2013 in Brownsville, Texas, and Key West, Fla.
Is it increasing in India?
Doctors in the capital are reporting fevers due to common cold, flu, typhoid, sporadic cases of malaria, and the occasional case of scrub typhus, aside from dealing with cases of mosquito-borne dengue which are on the rise. Delhi has already crossed the 1000-mark this year with 283 new cases reported last week. This was according to a Delhi civic report on vector-borne diseases released on Monday, that is, 25th October.
What are doctors in India saying about it?
“It’s a mixed bag really; we are seeing some cases of all the seasonal fevers. That is why it is important that people consult their doctors if the fever doesn’t reduce in two or three days. People should only take paracetamol to control fever. Antibiotics and pain medicines must be avoided,” said Dr. Suranjit Chaterjee, senior consultant of internal medicine at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital. “These days, we are seeing dengue cases well into October, so people must be careful and check for mosquito breeding in their houses and neighborhoods. We also need to remember that Covid-19 is not over; everyone should continue wearing masks and maintain social distance. Scientists have said that there could be a third wave in October and November,” he added.
How to prevent dengue?
- One must dispose of solid waste properly. He or she must remove any artificial man-made spots like pots that promote the breeding of mosquitoes.
- One should cover all the containers or empty vessels in your garden or terrace. He or she can also keep them upside down.
- One must clean water storage containers regularly and avoid collecting water as much as possible.
- He or she must minimize skin exposure to mosquitoes. They should wear full-sleeved, loose clothes to prevent mosquito bites.
- People must use mosquito repellents such as sprays, creams, and nets. They must also use mosquito nets when not sleeping in an air-conditioned room.
- One must make sure that the doors and windows are free of holes and closed when not in use
- And lastly, if not urgent, one must avoid traveling to areas with the risk of dengue fever.