DENGUE: THE ORIGIN
Dengue Fever — we’re all familiar with this menacing illness. But what do we actually know about it? The origins of Dengue are immensely vague as the earliest records date back to ancient China. During the Jin Dynasty, the first probable case of the killer syndrome was recorded in a Chinese medical encyclopedia which describes it as “water poisoning,” only to be associated with flying insects.
It was only around the late 1700’s that the first real epidemic occurred. A year after the disease was identified and named in 1979; Asia, Africa, and North America were all simultaneously stricken by Dengue Fever. Major casualties made it the first confirmed documentation where masses had been infected with the deadly virus. Millions of lives were lost due to inefficient treatments to treat its symptoms.
Fortunately, with today’s technological advancements and the encouragement of medical collaboration on a global scale, Dengue is a disease with strong defenses built against it. With an array of medical breakthroughs, and an increase in community awareness, Dengue is now a lesser-feared virus. Yet, the dreaded contagion has not lost is tenaciousness over its millennia of existence. So, how do we prevent it?
DENGUE: FACTS, PREVENTION, & TREATMENT
Dengue is an acute fever that is caused by one of four Dengue viruses. When infected by one of them, it progresses into two forms of fever: Dengue Fever or Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF) in which the latter becomes its severe form. Nonetheless, your body will fight the infection and build an immunity against it, but as for the other three Dengue viruses, you will still be vulnerable to them.
The Aedes Aegypti mosquito acts as the carrier of the virus. While mosquitoes aren’t born with the virus, it’s contracted from an infected person and transferred to a ‘clean’ host. You can never tell if a mosquito is infected with Dengue except by looking closely at its distinct form and the white circular linings around the legs and abdomen. It takes 5-7 days for the symptoms to manifest.
The symptoms of Dengue Fever are as follows:
- Sudden onset of high fever
- Severe headache (mostly in the forehead)
- Pain behind the eyes which worsens with eye movement
- Body aches and joint pains
- Nausea or vomiting
Aside from shock, Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever also shares similar symptoms of Dengue Fever, plus any one of the following:
- Severe and continuous pain in abdomen;
- Bleeding from the nose, mouth and gums or skin bruising;
- Frequent vomiting with or without blood;
- Black stools, like coal tar;
- Excessive thirst (dry mouth)
- Pale, cold skin
- Restlessness, or sleepiness
There is no specific medicine or cure for the disease except proper measures and early treatment of the illness. Aspirin and Brufen should be avoided in Dengue Fever, as it is known to increase the bleeding tendency and the stomach pain.
The infected person must be replenished with nutritious food and liquid intake; and be kept under a net or a screened room. If any signs of DHF are noticed, the patient must be sent to the hospital immediately.
There is a plethora of countermeasures against Dengue. Here are some facts about Dengue which you and the community can help prevent it.
- Mosquitoes live in closets, bathrooms, and other dark or cool places
- Outdoors, they live where it is cool and shaded
- Female mosquitoes lay eggs in exposed water collections such as barrels, drums, jars, pots, buckets, flower vases, plant saucers, discarded bottles, tins, tires, etc.
- To prevent mosquitoes from multiplying, unused containers where water can collect should be discarded
- Stored water containers should be covered at all times
- Mosquito eggs become adults in about 10 days
- Mosquitos often only bite during the day