Dengue fever

From ArticleWorld

Dengue fever is caused any of the four related virus belonging to the Flavivirus genus, in the Flaviviridae family. These viruses are different enough so that no cross-protection or epidemics can be caused by more than one virus type. The Aedes aegipty mosquito is usually responsible for transmitting the virus to humans, although cases of transmission by Aedes albopictus have been reported.

Several epidemics were reported in the late 18th century, and a global pandemic started in the 1950s and 1970s, in Southeastern Asia. It is currently the most common mosquito-borne disease that affects humans, followed by the malaria, which is being eradicated. Significant outbreaks are common at the moment, occurring every five or six years, but the mortality rate is quite low since the available treatment is fairly efficient.


The first signs of the disease involve fever, strong headache, joint and muscular pain. Bright red skin rashes also appear on the lower limb and chests, and then cover the whole body. In some cases, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting may also appear, associated with gastritis. However, the symptoms aren't always too severe, and some cases may be improperly diagnosed as simple colds. This is especially dangerous because foreign people who become infected may return to their homeland and further spread the disease with common mosquitoes as intermediaries, without knowing that they are spreading it. More severe cases show higher fever and hemorrhages, with thrombocytopenia and haemoconcentration. Severe cases lead to a deadly condition called dengue shock syndrome.

Prevention and treatment

There is no publicly-available vaccine for the dengue fever, but there are several positive ongoing research efforts. The main prevention methods remain mosquito nets, repellents and avoiding travel to endemic areas. The treatment mainly involves supportive therapy and continuous hydration. If the platelet level decreases significantly, platlet transfusion may be required.