Dengue fever is an acute viral disease caused by the Flavivirus of the family Flaviviridae. The term “dengue” is a Spanish attempt at the Swahili phrase “Ki denga pepo” meaning “cramp-like seizure” caused by an evil spirit.
It’s a disease of tropical and subtropical regions that occurs epidemically, very much similar to chikungunya.
This disease is also called “breakbone” fever because it sometimes causes severe joint & muscle pain that feels like bones are breaking, hence the name.
The illness is usually self-limiting and can last up to 10 days, but complete recovery can take as long as a month.
Dengue fever is noncontagious i.e., not an airborne infection (an infected person cannot spread the infection to other persons but can be a source of dengue virus for mosquitoes for about 6 days from the start of symptoms).
Dengue virus is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites, a specific species of mosquito usually Aedes aegypti (but frequently Aedes albopictus) which bites during morning hours. The mosquito transmits disease by biting an infected person and then biting someone else, similar to the spread of chikungunya.
The incubation period (i.e., period from infection till the manifestation of symptoms) is 4 to 6 days, but may vary with a range of 3 to 14 days.
This disease is a vector borne infection i.e., mosquito is the vector (carrier) of the virus believed to cause this fever and the vector is common both in dengue and chikungunya.
Symptoms of typical (classic) dengue usually start with fever within 5 to 6 days after someone is bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms are more or less similar to that of chikungunya and include:
Four grades of severity are recognized: Grade I, fever and constitutional symptoms; grade II, grade I plus spontaneous bleeding (of skin, gums, or gastrointestinal tract); grade III, grade II plus agitation and circulatory failure; grade IV, profound shock.
Exanthesis arthrosia, Aden fever, bouquet fever, breakbone fever, dandy fever, date fever, dengue fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever, polka fever, solar fever, scarlatina rheumatica.
Dengue fever can be diagnosed by performing blood test to detect antibodies against the virus.
Prevention is basically by:
Prognosis for dengue fever is good, if the infectious disease is treated on time. However the mortality rate can be as high as 15%. Hence immediate medical attention should be sought in suspected cases with dengue fever.
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