Dengue and Dengue Fever

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What is Dengue?

Dengue is a mosquito-borne infectious disease caused by the dengue virus, which is mainly found in the tropical regions. The disease may produce such body pains as one feels when his/ her bones break; it is hence known as Dengue fever, or ‘Breakbone’ fever.

The major symptoms of dengue include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain and a typical skin rash that occurs all over the body, similar to measles. Rarely dengue may develop into a more life threatening form known as dengue hemorrhagic fever, which results in bleeding, decreased blood platelet count or thrombocytopenia, blood plasma leakage or the more fatal dengue shock syndrome, which causes dangerously low blood pressure.

Dengue and Dengue fever

How is it Caused and Spread?

Dengue is a serious infection especially among children; about two-fifths of the world’s population is at risk. Dengue and dengue haemorrhagic fever are spread from human-to-human by the bite of mosquitoes carrying the dengue virus. The dengue virus belongs to a group known as Flavivirus and can be typically divided into four viral serotypes, DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4, which are closely related but differ in their antigens. Many species of mosquito under the genus Aedes transmit dengue; especially the Aedes aegypti species is involved in spreading the infection and is considered as the main cause of dengue. This species of mosquito breeds in stagnant water and usually bites during daylight hours. The virus circulates in the blood for 2-7 days after the human is affected, during which the mosquito may acquire the virus by biting the infected human and spread it to another unsuspecting victim.

The symptoms typically develop anywhere between 2 to 4 days from the time of the mosquito bite and may last up to a week. The dengue virus doesn’t have any detrimental effect on the mosquito, that carries it, and the mosquito remains infected for life. Dengue is rarely spread through person-to-person contact. Usually the disease is spread when a mosquito bites an infected person and becomes a carrier of the dengue virus. The mosquito then bites another healthy person and thus spreads the disease causing a possible epidemic breakout. A person infected with a single type of dengue virus serotype out of the four, develops resistant to that particular virus. However, they become much more susceptible to infection by other three serotypes.

Dengue Infection Cycle

Complications Involved with Dengue

Dengue causes the dengue fever, which sometimes may develop into more dangerous forms such as dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome, which may lead to the development of life-threatening symptoms. Some of the complications caused due to the disease are:
  • Severe dehydration

  • Continuous bleeding

  • Low platelets, due to which clotting of blood doesn’t occur

  • Blood pressure may go dangerously low

  • Enlargement of liver and damage to it

  • Bradycardia (heart beating less than 60 counts per minute)

  • Damage to brain due to bleeding, seizures or encephalitis

  • Damage to the immune system

Diagnosis of Dengue

Diagnosis of dengue is considered when fever is accompanied by severe body pain. It is important to be evaluated when a person develops fever within two weeks of being in the tropics or sub-tropics. Dengue often causes symptoms that are similar to other diseases such as flu, measles, and typhoid fever etc. Hence investigations are always performed to exclude other disease conditions. Usually the blood of the patient is tested for the presence of antibodies and virus. Diagnosis of dengue infection can be done by the following methods:
  • Isolating the virus by collecting serum sample from patients within 5 days of appearance of symptoms

  • Detection of specific antibodies can be done by collecting serum within 6 days after onset of symptoms. The serum is tested for specific anti-dengue antibodies by Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Titres of IgM and IgG antibodies increase four-fold in serum sample

  • Using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) for detecting viral genomic sequence from Serum or Cerebro Spinal Fluid (CSF) samples collected from the patient, which is more expensive and complicated

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)

In the case of more serious complications such as dengue hemorrhagic fever, the following diagnosis must be performed:
  • A tourniquet test is to be conducted, where a tourniquet is tied to the arm and if blood blotches tend to appear beyond the tourniquet, the patient may be suffering from increased bleeding, which may indicate Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever

  • Decreased in platelet count also known as Thrombocytopenia occurs when platelets are found to be 100 000 cells or less and this may be due to disease condition

  • Increase in hematocrit i.e., the volume percentage of Red Blood Cells (RBS), by 20% should be a caution as it occurs due to rise in the vascular permeability of the plasma. Signs of plasma leakage appears as increased fluid accumulation in the chest and abdominal cavity known as pleural effusion or ascites respectively

Treatment for Dengue

There are actually no known antiviral drugs or injections available for the cure of dengue. However, the disease can be treated with plenty of supportive care and treatment that would eventually help save the patient’s life. Dengue is characterized by fever and intense body ache. The fever can be treated with antipyretic drugs such as paracetamol and the body ache can be treated with analgesics that help relieve the pain. Drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen should be avoided as they may increase the risk of hemorrhage. The patient can also be treated with natural home remedies such as papaya leaves, kiwi and other food items that have been proven to help in the increase of platelet count, which gets affected during dengue.

In the case of more severe forms of dengue, such as dengue hemorrhagic disease or dengue shock syndrome, it a must for the patient to be admitted to a hospital and given proper care. The mortality rate of a dengue patient without hospitalisation increases about 50 percent. Treatments such as intra-venous fluid replacements should be administered to these patients to prevent shock. Patients should drink plenty of fluids, as dehydration is prevalent among those affected with Dengue. Vaccines for all of the serotypes are being developed, which will be the most effective way to cure the disease.

Prevention of Dengue

As there are no injections or vaccines available to cure dengue, prevention by following certain basic steps will be the most effective way to fight against the dreadful disease. Some of the ways to prevent the onset of dengue are stated as follows:
  • It is better to avoid stagnant water in flowerpots, buckets, barrels etc., in and around the house, as these are the favorite places for mosquitoes to lay eggs. Water should be stored in closed containers

  • Bleaching powder may be used in water sources that are not meant for drinking, as it prevents the development of mosquito eggs

  • The female mosquito feeds on blood as it requires the blood protein to produce eggs, hence it is better to use mosquito repellents, even when indoors

  • It is advised to reside in a well screened or air conditioned house. If not, mosquito nets may be attached to the windows

  • Usage of long-sleeved shirts, boots, socks and long pants is advised when outdoors

  • It is healthier to avoid being outdoors during dawn, dusk or early evenings when mosquitoes tend to roam around in the open

  • Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colored clothing hence it is better to wear bright and light colored clothes

  • Avoid strong perfumes, as mosquitoes are drawn towards strong body odours

Prevention of dengue


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SAM-PHARMA Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Hi all, if u have a fever in this season get your blood test done for dengue, ASAP.If fever accompanied with pain between eyes, head ache, vomiting etc are symptoms of the disease. Far as i have known there is no medicine except the home concoctions that can save you the agony of Drip/ hospitals transfusions etc: 1] Juice extracted from 2 papaya leaves twice a day. 2) Goats milk [fresh and not boiled/ just filtered) approx 250 ml twice a day. 3) To take care of the fever you can have the Crocin/ Tylenol that the doc prescribes. These concoctions are life savers, when medicine seems to have no answer.
vishal_noida Monday, September 30, 2013
Hi my friend suffering from sickness she feel pain in body, and also feeling cold. Can u tell me this symptoms are dengue or normal fever.
shaan27 Thursday, September 26, 2013
hello my wife is suffering from dengue and has been sick since last 6 days she is hospitalized right now what medication should be taken and what time is taken to cure it. plz reply
ghaley Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Dengue is a very dangerous disease; however one can get cured through proper treatments. I had suffered from Dengue a couple of years back. It took me about two weeks to recover completely.
Advancells Thursday, August 15, 2013
hi iv suffered from dengue 2 weeks ago. there no medicine given to me. only antacid for the stiomach taken every morning. My doctor advised me to drink more water. It may be no medical exsplanation but eating 10pcs each day of quail eggs help me improve my platelet. taua taua leaves also is a big factor for me to be able to recover.
timothyglen Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Hi, i m working as a cop in kerala. I feel a little bit of pain on the back of my eyes for the last two three hours and i have got some temperature too. Also i feel some headache. But there is no join pain..... Is it the symptom of so called Dengue or because of not taking proper rest at night??????
AnoopMathew Thursday, June 27, 2013
One of my acquaintances is suffering from Dengue and is having blood replacement every day from last 4 weeks. He also get vomiting and his blood platelets start going down after 4 hours of supply of blood. What could be the treatment of this state. Please reply ASAP. Thanks a lot in advance.
bluemoon_67 Wednesday, May 01, 2013
give him papaya leaf juice, kiwi fruit and mosambi juice. basically keep giving small quantities of these juices every 30 mins.
deepak81sh Wednesday, September 18, 2013
don't give aspirin to a suspected dengue patient. it is an a thrombolytic agent, meaning, it is a drug used to prevent blood clots as in patients suffering from hypertensive diseases. in dengue hemorrhagic fever, the part of the blood called platelets, gets depleted, these platelets are important. why? because they aid in the clotting mechanism. if you take aspirin which is a lytic agent, the platelets are prevented from clotting. if the blood doesn't clot, then, there will be bleeding from the nose, the gums or the stomach.
oldbamboo Saturday, January 05, 2013
My husband was hospitalized due to dengue. After 5days, his blood platelet count back to normal with no fever at all. After a day he was discharged from the hospital, we noticed again that he has rashes in his body, arms and legs but he doesn't feel anything, no fever, has appetite and no muscle pain. Can I have your advise please?
soccastillo Wednesday, December 26, 2012
rpg490 Monday, April 08, 2013
Today morning we came to know that our daughter 2 years old is infected by dengue So she is admitted in hospital ..is there any peculiar medicine ???? and pls tell how it will spread.....and how to prevent this in future.....
kailasampg1821 Monday, December 03, 2012
My relative 12 yrs old. she have fever for last 3 days ; we admit in local hospital ; no of time blod chekc ; and finally DENGU are dected. ;
now i confused what to do next ; pls help me

Guest Sunday, December 02, 2012
Get her admitted to a good hospital..giver her lots of liquids like water, soups and juices..for fever and body pain, take aspirin or paracetamol..get the blood test done once again to reconfirm dengue..she shud take rest.
vikas31 Sunday, December 02, 2012
Aspirin and other NSAIDs are not indicated for Dengue.
AnithaSri Monday, December 17, 2012
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