The Dengue Fever Virus
Dengue Fever is estimated to effect as many as a hundred million people every year in over 100 different tropical and sub tropical countries. In its most severe forms it is Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever and Dengue Shock Syndrome.
It is a serious disease and is transmitted by bites from the day flying mosquito. The mosquitos pass the infection along from person to person by bite. The mosquitos responsible are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus .
A blood test is required to determine that infection is Dengue and not the less serious Chikungunya Virus.
The symptoms of Dengue Fever will usually appear four days after being bitten. Typically these will be a high fever, swollen glands, headache, nausea, rash and severe pain in the joints. It is from this joint pain that the disease gets its common names of 'Break Bone Fever' and 'bone crusher disease'.
In its more serious stage of Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever there may also be sore throat, skin bruising and due to damage to blood vessels bleeding from the gums and nose.
The worst form is Dengue Shock Syndrome when all the previous symptoms are present but complicated by bleeding, shock, cold clammy skin and low blood pressure.
Having recovered from a bout of Dengue Fever does not pass on any real immunity as it appears in different forms. Being infected again by a different type is a real possibility.
There is no treatment for Dengue Fever. Bed rest, plenty of fluids and Paracetamol are the route of choice.
Patients recovering from Dengue are usually determined not to catch it again and take extra precautions. In its milder form recovery is usually within a couple of weeks, though some symptoms may hang on for months. With the more serious Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever and Dengue Shock Syndrome may leave the patient with permament damage. The risk of death is very real.
Travelers abroad or often aware of Malaria risks and take prophylactic treatment as well as taking precautions at dawn and dusk by applying DEET to exposed parts of the body. In areas where Dengue is known to occur it is advisable to apply a long lasting DEET product two or three times during the day.