What You Need to Know About Dengue

Dengue is still a threat in most affected countries despite the precautions taken against it. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), half the world’s population is now at risk, but most especially those residing in subtropical and tropical climates including Singapore.

Here are some facts about dengue you need to remember.

Dengue Mosquito
The virus is primarily transmitted by the female Aedes aegypti mosquito, although there were instances that another species, Aedes albopictus, was also the transmitter. Ae. aegypti is the same transmitter for other mosquito-related diseases such as Zika infection, chikungunya, and yellow fever. The symptoms are almost similar as well.

Four Dengue Serotypes
Serotype is the name that describes varieties in a species, and in the case of the dengue virus, there are four distinct types that have been documented in recent years. These are DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4. The treatment of the patient will depend on which serotype has infected the body and may even provide immunity in the future.

Incubation Period
If a person is bitten by a mosquito that carries the virus, dengue will incubate for a period of four to ten days before the symptoms show up. Usually, these symptoms last for two to seven days, but the severity will differ among affected individuals.

No Specific Treatment
Unfortunately, there is no one proven way to treat dengue. The affected individual must be taken to the hospital to monitor and maintain the correct levels of body fluids to help the body to fight off the infection naturally. It’s crucial for the patient to get the appropriate care at the first early signs of dengue. Do not wait for the symptoms to worsen, because the infection can cause severe bleeding, organ impairment, plasma leaks, respiratory distress, and fluid accumulation.

Platelet Monitoring
If an individual is suspected of having dengue, he/she needs to have tests to confirm the diagnosis, such as a platelet count test and an antigen test. The normal count should be anywhere between 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microliter, that is why if the patient’s platelet count falls below 10,000 per microliter, he/she will need a platelet transfusion.

Different Symptoms
The infection will manifest differently among affected individuals, but there are common symptoms that you should look out for; such as high fever (usually 104° F or 40° C), severe headache, muscle and joint pains, pain behind the eyes, nausea and/or vomiting, rashes, and swollen glands. Severe dengue can cause more serious complications, that is why you should not wait for the following warning signs: vomiting, rapid breathing, severe pain in the abdomen, fatigue, blood in the vomit, and bleeding gums.