Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease that has symptoms very similar to flu. Various parts of the world and India being a major contributor has witnessed an unwanted but significant rise in the incidence rate of dengue fever in the previous 10 years. Every year the dengue cases seem to rise which makes it a major cause of concern.
Dengue fever if not treated on time has the capability of turning fatal in several cases. Therefore, it is important to be cautious and spread awareness about the disease.
Dengue fever symptoms include fever accompanied by joint pains which need proper attention and medical help. It is extremely important to pay the much needed to the symptoms and get diagnosed in time.
Laboratory Diagnosis of dengue fever helps in the detection of the virus. After the onset of infection, the virus can be detected in plasma, serum, circulating blood cells and other tissues for 3-5 days.
During the early stage detection, nucleic acid, virus isolation or antigen can be used for diagnosing the infection but serology method is used for diagnosing at the end of the acute phase of infection. The two types of testing which are used to determine dengue fever are as follows:
- Molecular Testing: The genetic material of the dengue virus is detected in blood within the first week after the appearance of the first symptoms (fever), it is then used to detect which of 4 serotypes caused the infection.
- Antibody tests: This test detects two different classes of antibodies (IgG and IgM) generated by the body in reaction to a dengue fever Since the body’s immune system creates varying levels of antibodies during the course of the illness, therefore the combination of these tests may be required for the correct dengue fever treatment.
IgM antibodies are generated first and tests for these are most effective when it is performed at least 6- 10 days after exposure. The level of IgM antibodies in the blood rise for a few weeks and then gradually decrease. After a few months, the IgM antibodies fall below the identifiable levels.
IgG antibodies generate more slowly in the body in response to the infection. It is identifiable in the acute stage. A person who has already been infected once with the virus maintains a level of IgG antibodies in the blood that can affect the interpretation of the diagnostic results. IgG persists for the long term.
Dengue Fever Treatment
The aim of dengue fever treatment is to manage the symptoms by keeping away the infection from becoming more severe. Dengue fever infection demands various treatments like:
- Hydration with intravenous (IV) fluids
- Blood transfusion
- Oxygen therapy
- Electrolyte therapy
- Careful monitoring of blood pressure
- Prescribed drugs by the doctor to manage pain
The main objective of all these methods is to help your body to heal naturally and also to control the dengue fever symptoms. The doctors monitor the body’s response to the dengue fever treatment.
Severe dengue fever is quite difficult to treat because the symptoms appear at a faster rate and are quite worse.
Since the dengue virus cannot spread directly from a person to person hence it is not contagious. Only when a mosquito bites an already infected person with dengue, only then the dengue virus gets transmitted. The infection passes on when the infected mosquito bites another person.
The complete life cycle of the virus carries by the Aedes mosquito as a transmitter (vector) and a human as a source of infection. The common preventions are as follows:
- Clothing: Reducing the amount of skin exposure can avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Hence wearing long-sleeved shirts or T-Shirts full covered pants, socks and hats are advisable.
- Mosquito traps and nets: While sleeping using mosquito netting over the bed can be helpful or nets which are specially treated with insecticides are more effective.
- Mosquito repellents: Using mosquito repellent spray with a higher concentration of DEET (diethyltoluamide) can be useful. For younger children, NON-DEET based repellent are also found in the market.
- Avoid scents: Avoiding heavily scented perfumes and soaps can also be helpful as using these may attract mosquitoes.
- Timing: Closing doors and windows and staying inside at dawn, dusk and early evening are advisable as mosquitoes are most active during that time.
- Stagnant Water: Stagnant water is one of the main reason for the spread of dengue fever as it serves as a breeding ground for Aedes Mosquito. So, make sure that the pots, utensils, coolers around you do not act as host to the dengue mosquito.
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For reducing the risk of mosquitoes breeding in stagnant water one should:
- Drain, empty or cover all the things which may hold stagnant water
- Change water storage pans for plant pots weekly
- Maintain swimming pools regularly with proper care
- Turn buckets and used pots or bins upside down to avoid water collection.
- sanitize bird baths weekly
- Keep the drains and rain gutters clean.