Dengue fever, otherwise also known as breakbone fever, is a tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Dengue, if not attended to, can turn life threatening; causing fever, muscle and joint pains, headache, skin rashes that are similar to those from measles. In the final stages, dengue can even cause bleeding, lowering of blood platelet levels, finally causing dengue shock syndrome. The carrier for the dengue virus is a special genus of mosquitos, Aedes, which bite humans and transmit the virus. The dengue virus is of four types and infection to any one incites short term immunity against the others. It must be noted that since there are no preventive vaccines for dengue, it is imperative that your habitat is regularly treated to prevent mosquito breeding.
Typically, about 80% of dengue-afflicted are asymptomatic, with mild fever as the only visible symptom. For the rest, it is normally 4-7 days before they show visible symptoms of the fever. Children normally show sneezing, vomiting and diarrhoeatic tendencies; while adults show a lot more severe symptoms. Mostly, dengue can be diagnosed by instant rise in body temperature, muscle and joint pains and severe headaches. Measles-like rashes develop somewhere between 4-7 days. Internal symptoms include fluid accumulation in the chest and abdominal cavity, causing capillary leakage, ultimately leading to decreased blood supply to vital organs.
As mentioned above, there are no certified vaccines against dengue. World Health Organization has recommended an Integrated Vector Control program that calls for strengthening of public health bodies, besides maintaining hygienic surroundings, wearing full clothing and careful usage of mosquito repellents.
The platelet count in a normal healthy adult is anywhere between 150,000 and 400,000 per microliter of blood. In case the count is either above or below this range, it is equally dangerous. While a higher platelet count may lead to thrombosis; low platelet levels can lead to increased bleeding risks, causing thrombocytopenia.
As is the case with the vaccine, there are no specific treatments for dengue. A detailed diagnosis can be made, only on the basis of the visible symptoms. Most common treatments include intravenous fluid administration and blood transfusion. Paracetamol and Aspirin are administered for checking fever and preventing excessive bleeding respectively.
We would still suggest prevention is always better than cure. Especially, in case of dengue.