Dengue Fever

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Overview

Dengue fever is a viral illness that is transmitted via the female Anopheles mosquito. It is a common disease in tropical and subtropical areas of the world.

Causes

There are four types of dengue virus strains, and any of the four strains can cause the disease. The virus is spread via a mosquito. When the mosquito bites an infected individual, the mosquito becomes infected, and when the infected mosquito bites a healthy individual, it transmits the virus to the healthy individual.

The hemorrhagic fever occurs when the vessels become damaged because of the infection, leading to the vessels becoming leaky, and hence the bleeding out symptoms.

Symptoms

The mild form of the illness doesn’t produce significant symptoms, but in severe dengue fever, the patient will experience the following symptoms:

  • High grade fever (more than 1040 F)
  • Headache
  • Muscle, bone and joint pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

When the disease becomes more severe, it changes into a hemorrhagic form of the disease, called Dengue hemorrhagic fever. The signs and symptoms for the hemorrhagic fever can be listed as:

  • Extreme abdominal pain
  • Consistent vomiting
  • Bleeding through the nose/gums
  • Blood in urine, stool or vomit
  • Bleeding under the skin, which may look like a bruise
  • Difficulty or fast breathing
  • Clammy or cold skin (possibly due to shock)
  • Weakness
  • Irritability or agitation

Diagnosis

The diagnosis is made on the base of a detailed history, and the signs found on physical examination of the patient.

Blood tests for Dengus NS-1 Antigen can be helpful. Platelets are monitored as risk of bleeding increases as platelet count decreases.

Treatment

There is no exact treatment for dengue fever, and is usually managed by adequate bed rest and hydration.

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