Part 1: FAQs
1. Frequently Asked Questions
1.1. What is dengue fever and severe dengue?
Dengue is a vector-borne disease transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. There are 4 serotypes of the virus that causes dengue. These are known as DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, DEN-4. Severe dengue is a potentially lethal complication which can develop from dengue infections. It is estimated that there are over 50-100 million cases of dengue worldwide each year and 3 billion people living in dengue endemic countries. 1.2. Where does the disease occur?
Dengue is mainly transmitted by a mosquito (Aedes aegypti) and is distributed across all tropical countries (map available). Ae. aegypti and other species such as Ae. albopictus are highly adaptive and their combined distribution can spread dengue higher up north across Europe or North America during summer. (Note: Travellers already infected with the virus also spread the disease when they get bitten by the local Aedes mosquito population). Dengue outbreaks can occur anytime, as long as the mosquitoes are still active. However, in general, high humidity and temperature are conditions that favour mosquito survival, increasing the likelihood of transmission. 1.3. What are the symptoms of dengue fever and severe dengue? a) Dengue fever
Dengue causes flu-like symptoms and lasts for 2-7 days. Dengue fever usually occurs after an incubation period of 4-10 days after the bite of the infected mosquito. High Fever (40°C/ 104°F) is usually accompanied by at least two of the following symptoms: Headaches
Pain behind eyes
Joint, bone or muscle pains
b) Severe dengue
When developing into severe dengue, the critical phase takes place around 3-7 days after the first sign of illness. Temperature will decrease; this does NOT mean the person is necessarily recovering. On the other hand, special attention needs to be given to these warning signs as it could lead to severe dengue: Severe abdominal pain
When severe dengue is suspected, the person should be rushed to the emergency room or to the closest health care provider as it causes: Plasma leaking that may lead to shock and/or fluid accumulation with/without respiratory distress; Severe bleeding;
Severe organ impairment.
1.4. What is the treatment for dengue?
There is no vaccine or specific medication for dengue fever. Patients should seek medical advice, rest and drink plenty of fluids. Paracetamol can be taken to bring down fever and reduce joint pains. However, aspirin or ibuprofen should not be taken since they can increase the risk of bleeding. Patients who are already infected with the dengue virus can transmit the infection viaAedes mosquitoes after the first symptoms appear (during 4-5 days; maximum 12). As a precautionary approach, patients can adopt measures to reduce transmission by sleeping under a treated net especially during the period of illness with fever. Infection with one strain will provide life-time protection only against that particular strain. However, it is still possible to become infected by other strains and develop into severe dengue. When warning signs of severe dengue are present (listed above), it is imperative to consult a doctor and seek hospitalization to manage the disease. 1.5. What should I do if I suspect I have dengue?
If you suspect you have dengue you need to see a doctor immediately. To diagnose dengue fever, your doctor will: Evaluate your signs and symptoms;
Test your blood for evidence of a dengue virus;
Review your medical and travel history.
Persons who had travelled to dengue endemic countries during the past two weeks should inform the doctor about it. 1.6. Who spreads dengue and severe dengue?
Dengue is spread through the bite of the female mosquito (Aedes aegypti). The mosquito becomes infected when it takes the blood of a person infected...
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