Dengue is a mosquito-borne painful disease that can be deadly. In Pakistan, devastating floods have affected millions of people and destroyed homes and medical facilities. A recent dengue outbreak in these conditions is spreading like wildfire. WHO (world health organization) has also taken notice.
Dengue is an acute viral disease spread by a specific mosquito family. Dengue virus gains its way into the host body following an infected mosquito bite. World Health Organization (WHO) considers dengue as a major global health challenge in the tropic and sub-tropic regions. Dengue has seen a 30-fold up rise worldwide between 1960 and 2010, due to increased population growth rate, global warming, unplanned urbanization, inefficient mosquito control, frequent air travel, and lack of health care facilities.
Dengue fever is native to Pakistan. A year-round transmission is seen with seasonal peaks, however, a recent flood starting in mid-June has caused a significant rise in dengue from (January to September) 2022 as compared to the four previous years. Recent reports by WHO and National Health institute-Islamabad show that from January 1st to September 22nd a total of 25,932 cases have been reported and 62 deaths have been reported nationally. Three-quarters (74%) of these cases were reported during the month of September alone.
Symptoms of Dengue
Symptoms of dengue start 4 to 6 days after its transmission into the body and last for 10 days. These include:
- Severe headaches
- Severe fever
- Pain behind eyes
- Severe Pain in the joints and muscles
- Skin rash, 2 to 3 days after fever
- Mild bleeding (nose and gums)
The mild symptoms can also be mistaken for flu or other viral infections. Younger people and children have been observed to have mild symptoms while older people, people with weakened immune systems, and people with subsequent infection have higher chances of having severe symptoms and complexities that may occur which can cause damage to blood vessels and the circulatory system. This can lead to massive bleeding, shock, and even death.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Doctors can do your blood test to check for viruses and antibodies and conclude if you have dengue. If you have traveled and suspect the above-mentioned symptoms go ahead and book a doctor’s appointment. Prevention is better than cure. There is no specific treatment for dengue fever. If you think you have dengue you should take pain relievers, rest, drink plenty of fluids and go to a doctor.
Prevention of Dengue
The optimal solution to this dengue pandemic is prevention. The best way to prevent it is to avoid the bite of mosquitos. Avoid going out in revealing clothes this may make you prone to mosquito bites. Further preventions include:
- Use mosquito repellent, even indoors.
- Try wearing long-sleeve shirts and long pants tucked into socks.
- When indoors, use air-conditioners.
- Make sure windows and doors are secure.
- Use mosquito net for sleep.
To reduce the mosquito population, get rid of places where mosquitoes can breed. These include old tires, cans, or flower pots that collect rain.
If any of your family member has dengue be on the lookout for mosquitos. Mosquitos that bite the infected member can spread the infection to other house members.