What is Dengue and how to treat it?

Dengue is a dangerous mosquito-borne infection, most commonly spread during the day, and there is no specific treatment or vaccine.

About Dengue

Dengue is a dangerous mosquito-borne infection found in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world including Solomon Islands, mainly in urban areas.

It commonly spreads through mosquito bites during the day and there is no specific treatment or vaccine.

There are four different but closely related types of the virus that cause dengue. Recovery from infection by one provides lifelong immunity against that particular serotype. However, cross-immunity to the other serotypes after recovery is temporary and you can develop dengue again.

Transmission

The Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquito is the primary vector of dengue and the virus is transmitted through bites of infected female mosquitoes. After virus incubation for 4–10 days, an infected mosquito is capable of transmitting the virus for the rest of its life.

The Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquito lives in urban habitats and breeds mostly in man-made containers, tyres and other house hold water pockets. Unlike other mosquitoes, it bites during the daytime, with peak times early in the morning and during the evening before dusk.

Infected humans are the main carriers and multipliers of the virus, serving as a source of the virus for uninfected mosquitoes. Patients who are already infected with the dengue virus can transmit the infection (for 4–5 days; maximum 12) via Aedes mosquitoes after their first symptoms appear.

Symptoms and signs of dengue fever

  • flu-like illness
  • severe headache
  • pain behind the eyes
  • muscle and joint pains
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • swollen glands or rash

Symptoms usually last for 2–7 days, following an incubation period of 4–10 days after the bite from an infected mosquito.

Severe dengue is a potentially deadly complication due to plasma leaking, fluid build up, respiratory distress, severe bleeding, or organ impairment.

Warning signs occur 3–7 days after the first symptoms in combination with a decrease in temperature (below 38°C/ 100°F) and include: severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, rapid breathing, bleeding gums, fatigue, restlessness, blood in vomit.

The next 24–48 hours of the serious stage can be dangerous; proper medical care is needed to avoid complications and risk of death.

What to do if you have dengue?

There is no specific medication for treatment of a dengue infection. Persons who think they have dengue should take medicines that can relieve the body pain. They should also rest, drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, avoid mosquito bites by using repellent and consult a physician.

As with dengue, there is no specific medication for Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever.

If a clinical diagnosis is made early, a health care provider can effectively treat Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever using fluid replacement therapy. To treat the Dengue Fever, hospitalisation is generally required.

For severe dengue, medical care by physicians and nurses experienced with the effects and progression of the disease can save lives – decreasing death rates from more than 20% to less than 1%. Maintenance of the patient’s body fluid volume is critical to severe dengue care.

Immunization

Currently, there is no vaccine available to protect against dengue.

For more information, contact the HCC Vector Borne Disease Control Programme Office at 28295 or at the Health Division office; or contact the National Vector Borne Programme at 30655.

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