Dengue Fever Symptoms and Causes

This article contains general advice only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Always seek a professional health care opinion.

How To Prevent Against Dengue Fever

Anyone living in a tropical climate will likely find themselves under attack from mosquitoes at some point. In some parts of the world, these mosquitoes may bring with them a dangerous viral disease known as dengue or ‘dengue fever’. It is important to learn how to recognise dengue symptoms, as the disease can lead to serious complications and even prove fatal if not treated quickly and effectively. Read on to learn more about this debilitating disease, how to prevent it and the treatment options available.

What is dengue fever?

Dengue fever is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes. You may also see it written as DENV for ‘dengue virus’. Dengue fever is also known as ‘break bone fever’ because in cases of severe dengue fever, symptoms include excruciating pain in the bones. You may also hear the term ‘Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF)’. DHF is the most severe type of dengue fever, and children whose dengue symptoms worsen to this degree areunlikely to survive.

Where is dengue fever most common?

Dengue fever occurs in over 100 countries around the world, with cases commonly recorded in Africa, the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean, South-East Asia and the Western Pacific. Each year, approximately 100 million cases are recorded across the tropical and subtropical regions of the world.

In India, the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) reported that the greatest number of cases in 2019 were in Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Telangana and Uttrakhand, with each state seeing over 10,000 cases by November 2019.

But, where did it all start? The first ever case of probable dengue fever was recorded in a Chinese medical encyclopaedia from the Jin Dynasty (265-420 AD). It mentioned a “water poison” associated with flying objects. Years on, the first documented case of dengue epidemics occurred almost simultaneously in Asia, Africa and North America – all in the 1780s.

In India, Madras (now Chennai) was home to the first recorded epidemic of a dengue-like illness, again occurring in 1780. Calcutta (now Kolkata) and the Eastern Coast of India later saw the first proven epidemic of dengue fever across 1963 and 1964.

Fast-forward several decades to modern-day India, and the country has fortunately seen a steady decline in dengue cases and deaths.

What are some common dengue fever symptoms?

If you get a mild case of dengue, your symptoms will start to show within the first week of infection. The symptoms of dengue fever are flu-like, and include:

  • An increase in body temperature
  • A splitting headache
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Stomach ache
  • Diarrhoeaand vomiting
  • Skin rash

Severe dengue could lead to Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever. DHF is a syndrome that mainly affects children under 10 years of age. Symptoms of DHF include all of the above as well as damage to the blood and lymphatic vessels, bleeding from the nose and gums, and purple bruising under the skin.

DHF could progress to dengue shock syndrome (DSS). This is the most severe form of dengue fever, and could lead to death in rare cases. Patients are likely to exhibit all of the symptoms listed above, as well as fluids leaking from blood vessels, excessive bleeding and shock due to the extremely low blood pressure.

Dengue symptoms in kids

Dengue symptoms in kids tend to be more severe than that in adults, and this is the case even for children whose dengue has not progressed onto DHF. Studies have found that acute cases of dengue are more likely to be seen in children than in adults during a dengue outbreak.

It is important to be aware of the early dengue symptoms in children so you can take action before the disease progresses too far. Some symptoms to look out for in your child include nausea, bleeding, sudden high fever, mild nose bleeds, bleeding gums, sore joints and skin rashes.

What type of mosquito causes dengue fever?

There are four different types of dengue fever viruses that are spread between humans by mosquitoes. It should be noted that the disease cannot be spread directly from human to human. Instead, mosquitoes act as ‘vectors’or transmission agents, biting an infected human and taking the disease with them to their next human target. This means, if you start exhibiting dengue symptoms, you were most likely bitten by a mosquito within the past 4-6 days.

The female Aedes aegypti mosquito is mainly responsible for transmitting dengue alongside the Aedes albopictus (but to a lesser extent). These mosquitoes are daytime feeders and are active early in the morning as well as in the evenings before sunset. If you live in a dengue-prone area, you may want to keep a mosquito killer spray handy in case you spot any in your home.

The Mortein 2in1 insect killer spray is a great option to help kill mosquitoes. It has a triple-active formula that allows it to boast a 100% kill guarantee on mosquitoes and cockroaches. All you need to do if you spot a mosquito during those prime biting hours is to point the dual-purpose nozzle directly at them and squeeze the trigger.

How do you prevent dengue fever?

While there is currently no vaccine or cure for dengue fever, there are precautions you can take to prevent catching the disease. If you intend to visit areas known for high rates of dengue, you may want to follow the tips below:

  • Put insect repellent on both your skin and clothing. Keep in mind that the mosquitoes responsible for spreading dengue are active during the day, so you will need to make sure you are protected if you plan to be out andabout.
  • Use insecticide-treated mosquito nets.
  • Wear clothes that cover your arms and legs.
  • If available, switch on the AC and keep windows shut. Ensure any windows are covered by screens to reduce the chance of mosquitoes gaining entry.
  • Get rid of mosquito breeding areas, including removing stagnant water around the house. Look out for pots, tarpaulins and buckets in and around your home and empty out the water, or get rid of the items entirely. If you do need to keep them around, make sure they are covered and in a dry area.

How do you treat dengue fever?

For most people, dengue fever will subside within two weeks of contracting the disease. In severe cases, it can last for months, and the patient will likely require hospitalisation to help replenish lost fluids and control bleeding.

Unfortunately, there is no exact cure for dengue fever, nor a vaccine. That said, if you believe you may have dengue, it is important to contact a healthcare professional straight away. The earlier medical treatment can be provided, the better chance you will have of making a full recovery. Medical staff will focus their treatment on managing the symptoms of dengue fever to help keep you comfortable and lessen the risk of any complications.

Disclaimer: Mortein does not make any warranty that by using these products you will not contract the diseases referred to in this site. Use Mortein as part of a complete preventative plan and please still take caution. Seek a medical professional for further advice in regard to theabove, especially if visiting prone areas.