What is Dengue?

What is Dengue?

Dengue is an infectious viral disease transmitted by two species of mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. [1] The disease is classified into four types of virus (DEN1, DEN2, DEN3 and DEN4). [2] Two main developments of the disease are observed: dengue which causes flu-like syndrome and severe dengue (formerly called hemorrhagic dengue), which can cause fatal complications in children. [2] Recognized in the 1950s, the number of dengue fever victims has increased 30-fold since the 1960s, with 100 million cases reported each year. [3]

What are the most affected areas?

The tropics and subtropics of Asia and Latin America are the areas most affected by this problem, with dengue fever being one of the major causes of hospitalization and death. Latin America thus recorded more than 2.35 million cases of dengue in 2013. [3] The regions in the North are less affected by the virus, but a few cases have nevertheless been recorded in Europe.

Strong globalization and its trade have greatly contributed to the spread of the disease, with Aedes mosquitoes following the transport of goods. Before 1970, 9 countries were affected by severe dengue. This number has increased to more than 100 affected countries. [2] To see the latest reports on dengue and other diseases around the world, go to the interactive map http://www.healthmap.org/en/.

How is this dangerous?

Mosquitoes of the Aedes aegypti species become carriers of the virus after drawing blood from an infected individual. 2.5 billion people are at risk from the virus due to the global presence of Aedes mosquitoes. [3] Most people with the infection will not experience any symptoms or they will be weak enough to be mistaken for other illnesses such as the flu or fever. In the case of a patient who is resistant to a weak virus, symptoms often go away after a week.

The most common symptoms of dengue are fever, headache, rash, nausea or vomiting, joint pain and muscle pain. [2] These symptoms appear 2 to 7 days after transmission and can last two to three weeks. Being similar to the symptoms noted for chikungunya or Zika virus, it is recommended to consult a doctor in order to establish an accurate diagnosis.

The infection can become more dangerous and turn out to be severe dengue. This rarer form of dengue fever presents more intense symptoms with gastrointestinal, skin or brain bleeding, circulatory failure and difficulty breathing. Children are particularly prone to the virus and can go into shock, sometimes causing death. [2] The first few days when these symptoms appear are the most critical, it is vital to see or go to the emergency room for treatment.

Each year, dengue fever is estimated to cause 24,000 deaths worldwide, making it one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases. This is the reason why many countries in the tropics and subtropics, Asia and Latin America consider dengue to be a major public health problem. [3]

How to heal?

To date, there is no specific treatment for dengue fever. Symptoms can be relieved by taking pain relievers, under the guise of a doctor's permission. A consultation with your doctor or a medical expert can provide you with a diagnosis as well as appropriate recommendations. Rest and constant hydration are strongly recommended. To avoid spreading the virus to others, infected patients should protect themselves from mosquito bites in the weeks following the onset of dengue symptoms.

Prevention remains the most effective way to fight the disease by avoiding mosquito bites. Stagnant water points should be emptied regularly to prevent mosquito laying. It is important to wear loose clothing that covers the skin as much as possible or to prepare a space protected by a mosquito net. The most effective way is to apply an effective mosquito repellent.

Dengue is an endemic disease in more than 100 countries, mainly in the tropics and subtropics. If you are traveling to one of these affected countries, watch out for mosquitoes and take all your precautions

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