Q. What is
Dengue (pronounced den' gee) is a disease caused by any one of four
closely related viruses (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, or DEN-4). The viruses
are transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito(Aedes
aegypti). The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the vector of
dengue/DHF. It is estimated that there are over 100 million cases of
Dengue worldwide each year.
Q. What is dengue
hemorrhagic fever (DHF)?
is a more severe form of dengue. It can be fatal if unrecognized and
not properly treated. DHF is caused by infection with the same
viruses that cause dengue. With proper management, mortality due to
DHF can be reduced
Q. How are dengue
and dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) spread?
Dengue is transmitted to people by the bite of an Aedes
mosquito that is infected with a dengue virus. The mosquito becomes
infected with dengue virus when it bites a person who has dengue or
DHF and after about a week can transmit the virus while biting a
healthy person. Dengue cannot be spread directly from person to
Q. What are the
symptoms of the disease?
principal symptoms of dengue are high fever, severe headache,
backache, joint pains, nausea and vomiting, eye pain, and rash.
Generally, younger children are more affected than older children
hemorrhagic fever is characterized by a fever that lasts from 2 to 7
days, with general signs and symptoms that could occur with many
other illnesses (e.g., nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and
headache). This stage is followed by hemorrhagic manifestations,
tendency to bruise easily or other types of skin hemorrhages,
bleeding nose or gums, and possibly internal bleeding. The smallest
blood vessels (capillaries) become excessively permeable (“leaky”),
allowing the fluid component to escape from the blood vessels. This
may lead to failure of the circulatory system and shock, followed by
death, if circulatory failure is not corrected.
Q. What is the
treatment for dengue?
There is no specific medication for treatment of a dengue infection.
Persons who think they have dengue should use analgesics (pain
relievers) with paracetamal and avoid those containing aspirin. They
should also rest, drink plenty of fluids, and consult a physician.
Q. Is there an
effective treatment for dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF)?
with dengue, there is no specific medication for DHF. It can however
be effectively treated by fluid replacement therapy if an early
clinical diagnosis is made. Hospitalization is frequently required
in order to adequately manage DHF.
Q. Where can
outbreaks of dengue occur?
Outbreaks of dengue occur primarily in areas where Aedes aegypti
(sometimes also Aedes albopictus) mosquitoes are found in
large numbers. This includes urban areas as well as rural areas.
Dengue viruses may be introduced into areas by migratory workers who
become infected while visiting other endemic areas, where dengue
Q. What can be
done to reduce the risk of acquiring dengue?
There is no vaccine for preventing dengue. The best preventive
measure for residents living in areas infested with Aedes aegypti
is to eliminate the places where the mosquito lays her eggs,
primarily artificial containers that hold water.
collect rainwater or are used to store water (for example, plastic
containers, drums, buckets, or used automobile tires) should be
covered or properly discarded. Pet and animal watering containers
and vases with fresh flowers should be emptied and scrub dried at
least once a week. This will eliminate the mosquito eggs and larvae
and reduce the number of mosquitoes present in these areas.
For travellers to
areas with dengue, as well as people living in areas with dengue,
the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes indoors is reduced by windows
and doors that are screened. Proper application of mosquito
repellents on exposed skin and use of full sleeve clothes decreases
the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.
Q. How can we
prevent epidemics of dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF)?
emphasis for dengue prevention is on sustainable, community-based,
integrated mosquito control, with limited reliance on insecticides
(chemical larvicides and adulticides). Preventing epidemic disease
requires a coordinated community effort to increase awareness about
how to control the mosquito that transmits it. Residents should be
made responsible for keeping houses and surroundings free from
mosquito breeding by emptying & scrub drying the rotate containers once a