What is Dengue?
Dengue is a disease caused by a virus transmitted through mosquito bites. For the majority of cases, it presents as a self-limiting febrile illness. However, for a small portion of cases, dengue can become very severe. Also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever. This condition causes bleeding, dropping in the level of blood platelets, and dengue shock.
Over 270,000 dengue cases were reported in the Philippines from January 1 to August 31, 2019. That represented a 95% increase compared to the same period in 2018. That just shows that dengue is still a serious health problem in the country.
Causes of Dengue
The dengue virus (DEN) is made up of 4 different serotypes:
These serotypes all belong to the genus Flavivirus and the family Flaviviridae. There are distinct genotypes within each serotype, which shows how genetically variable this virus is.
Unlike other types of viruses that can be transmitted through the air or through contact between infected persons, dengue is mainly transmitted via a bite of an infected mosquito. The Aedes aegypti species of mosquito is the main culprit that spreads dengue.
When a person is bitten and infected, the virus circulates in the blood (viremia) and causes the classic symptoms of dengue fever. If this person is bitten again, the virus is taken up by the mosquito and can infect another individual during the next blood meal.
Dengue Fever Symptoms and Prevention
The World Health Organization classifies into the following categories:
- Dengue without warning signs
- Dengue with warning signs
- Severe dengue
It’s crucial to discuss the signs and symptoms dengue. In an area where dengue is endemic, such as the Philippines, any person with fever, typically high grade, occasionally reaching 40C accompanied by two or more of the following symptoms, should be suspected to have dengue:
- Intense headache
- Experiencing discomfort behind the eyes
- Muscle pains
- Joint pains
Warning signs of dengue fever include: