- The Indian subcontinent
- Southeast Asia
- Southern China
- The Pacific Islands
- The Caribbean (except Cuba and the Cayman Islands)
- Central and South America (except Chile, Paraguay, and Argentina)
Dengue fever is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito infected with a dengue virus. The mosquito becomes infected when it bites a person with dengue virus in their blood. It can’t be spread directly from one person to another person.
Symptoms of Dengue Fever
Symptoms of dengue fever occur after four to six days after infection and last for up to 10 days. These symptoms include;
- Sudden, high fever
- Severe headaches
- Pain behind the eyes
- Severe joint and muscle pain
- Skin rash, which appears two to five days after the onset of fever
- Mild bleeding (such a nose bleed, bleeding gums, or easy bruising)
Sometimes, symptoms are mild and can be mistaken for those of the flu or another viral infection. Younger children and people who have never had the infection before tend to have milder cases than older children and adults. However, serious problems can develop. These include dengue hemorrhagic fever, a rare complication characterized by high fever, damage to lymph and blood vessels, bleeding from the nose and gums, enlargement of the liver, and failure of the circulatory system. The symptoms may progress to massive bleeding, shock, and death. This is called dengue shock syndrome (DSS).
People with weakened immune systems as well as those with a second or subsequent dengue infection are believed to be at greater risk for developing dengue hemorrhagic fever.
Diagnosing Dengue Fever
A blood test can be used to diagnose Dengue fever infection. The test is used to look for the virus or antibodies to it.
Treatment for Dengue Fever
Dengue fever has no cure. If you experience the signs of dengue fever use pain relievers with acetaminophen. Do not take medicines with aspirin, which could worsen bleeding. Take plenty of rest, and drink plenty of fluids. If symptoms persist seek medical attention.
Preventing Dengue Fever
Avoid being bitten by infected mosquitoes, especially if you live in or traveling to a tropical area. This involves protecting yourself and making efforts to keep the mosquito population down.
Do the following for caution:
- Use mosquito repellents, even indoors.
- When outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into socks.
- When indoors, use air conditioning if available.
- Make sure window and door screens are secure and free of holes. If sleeping areas are not screened or air-conditioned, use mosquito nets.
- If you have symptoms of dengue, speak to your doctor.
Avoid areas that can be inhabited by mosquitoes. These include old tires, cans, or flower pots that collect rain. Change the water in outdoor bird baths and pets’ water dishes occasionally.
Stay away from an infected person. This is because a mosquito can easily spread the fever from them to you.