Dengue fever is a disease caused by a family of viruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes. It is an acute illness of sudden onset that usually follows a benign course with symptoms such as headache, fever, exhaustion, severe muscle and joint pain, swollen glands and rash. The presence (the “dengue triad”) of fever, rash, and headache (and other pains) is particularly characteristic of dengue. Other signs of dengue fever include bleeding gums, severe pain behind the eyes, and red palms and soles.
Dengue (pronounced DENG-gay) strikes people with low levels of immunity. Because it is caused by one of four sero types of virus, it is possible to get dengue fever multiple times. However, an attack of dengue produces immunity for a lifetime to that particular sero type to which the patient was exposed.
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Dengue goes by other names, including “break bone” or “dandy fever.” Victims of dengue often have contortions due to the intense joint and muscle pain, hence the name break bone fever. Slaves in the West Indies who contracted dengue were said to have dandy fever because of their postures and gait.
A 2009 outbreak of dengue fever in Key West, Fla., showed that three patients who did not travel outside of the U.S. contracted the virus. Subsequent testing of the population of Key West has shown that up to 55 of the people living in the area have antibodies to dengue. As of July 17, 2010, 17 individuals have been identified that acquired dengue in Key West in 2010.
Dengue fever is common, and statistics show it may be increasing in Southeast Asia. Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, and Malaysia have all reported an increase in cases. According to the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are an estimated 100 million cases of dengue fever with several hundred thousand cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever requiring hospitalization each year. Nearly 40% of the world’s population lives in an area endemic with dengue. How can dengue fever be prevented?
How to prevent Dengue fever
The transmission of the virus to mosquitoes must be interrupted to prevent the illness. To this end, patients are kept under mosquito netting until the second bout of fever is over and they are no longer contagious.
The prevention of dengue requires control or eradication of the mosquitoes carrying the virus that causes dengue. In nations plagued by dengue fever, people are urged to empty stagnant water from old tires, trash cans, and flower pots. Governmental initiatives to decrease mosquitoes also help to keep the disease in check but have been poorly effective.
To prevent mosquito bites, wear long pants and long sleeves. For personal protection, use mosquito repellant sprays that contain DEET when visiting places where dengue is endemic. Limiting exposure to mosquitoes by avoiding standing water and staying indoors two hours after sunrise and before sunset will help. The Aedes aegyptimosquito is a daytime biter with peak periods of biting around sunrise and sunset. It may bite at any time of the day and is often hidden inside homes or other dwellings, especially in urban areas.
There is currently no vaccine available for dengue fever. There is a vaccine undergoing clinical trials, but it is too early to tell if it will be safe or effective. Early results of clinical trials show that a vaccine may be available by 2012.
Unani Treatment for Dengue fever
Sheerah Tukhm Khurfa 10 gm in normal water is beneficial in dengue fever. Qurs Tabaseer with sharbat bazoori 40 ml Sharbat Deenar 40 ml two times daily Sharbat Tamarhindi 40 ml with arq Gau zaban 100 ml two times Habbe Shifa 2 tab two times Afsanteen 6 gm, chiraita 6 gm, karanjwa 6gm decoction two times daily before meal very beneficial.
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