National Dengue Day is observed every year on May 16 to spread awareness about the Dengue disease. The government of India has set up a theme ‘Dengue is preventable; let us join hands’ for this year’s National Dengue day.
What is Dengue?
Dengue is a viral infection transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes. The primary vectors that transmit the disease are Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and, to a lesser extent, Ae. albopictus. The virus responsible for causing dengue, is called dengue virus (DENV). These mosquitoes are also vectors of chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika viruses. Dengue is caused by a virus of the Flaviviridae family and there are four distinct, but closely related, serotypes of the virus that cause dengue (DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3 and DENV-4).
Every year, an estimated 400 million dengue infections occur worldwide, with around 96 million resulting in severe disease. The majority of instances occur in tropical parts of the world.
Symptoms of Dengue
- high fever
- severe headache
- pain behind the eyes
- muscle and joint pains
- swollen glands
Prevention of Dengue
The best method to prevent the disease is to avoid mosquito bites. These mosquitos often lay eggs near standing water in water-holding containers such as buckets, bowls, animal dishes, flower pots, and vases. It is best to avoid storing standing water around.
The following methods must be adopted for prevention of dengue –
- Prevention of mosquito breeding
- Personal protection from mosquito bites
- Creating awareness among people
- Active mosquito and virus surveillance
Treatment of Dengue
There is no specific treatment for dengue fever. Patients should rest, stay hydrated and seek medical advice. Supportive care such as fever reducers and pain killers can be taken to control the symptoms of muscle aches and pains, and fever.
The best options to treat these symptoms are acetaminophen or paracetamol. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as ibuprofen and aspirin should be avoided. These anti-inflammatory drugs act by thinning the blood, and in a disease with risk of hemorrhage, blood thinners may exacerbate the prognosis.