Kimberly A. Bitanga
Professor J. Gray
Dengue fever is a debilitating tropical disease caused by one of five types of the dengue virus.(1) It is transmitted by mosquitos throughout the tropics and subtropics of not only Southeast Asia, but has now spread to Central and South America, and countries in the Pacific Ocean and America as well. Usually, most people who are infected with the virus are asymptomatic, with mild symptoms, whereas others develop life threatening dengue hemorrhagic fever. The usual diagnosis of this condition is based on reported symptoms and a physical exam. Although there are still no approved vaccine or specific antiviral drug for dengue fever, many clinical developments have been implemented and a vaccine may be available in the near future. (2) Introduction
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a virus known as dengue virus. This virus continues to infect the human race and is a growing health problem in the tropic and subtropic areas, even with our current state of advanced technology and medical care. Dengue virus is from the family Flaviviridae and the genus Flavivirus. (3) It is a vector borne disease that occurs through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. The virus has 5 different types (DENV) 1, 2 3, 4, and 5. Once infected with the virus, symptoms include a sudden high fever, measle-like rash all over the body, headache, and muscle and joint pain. In small cases, the disease can develop into life- threatening dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome. Although there are methods of prevention of this disease, the cause infecting the human body still results in many cases of this debilitating disease, probably due to urbanization increasing the habitat of aedes aegypti. (4) Currently, there is no active vaccine for this virus. However, researchers have found a candidate for a dengue vaccine that reduces the overall risk of dengue infection by 60% and may be available by late 2015. (2)
The vast history of dengue fever and aedes aegypti can date back many thousands of years ago. The earliest known records of dengue fever-like condition was found in the Chinese Medical Encyclopedia in 265-420 AD. (5) The virus aedes aegypti, spread out of Africa in the 15th to 19th centuries. There had been conveyed outbreaks of dengue fever- like symptoms since1635 in the West Indies, but it was not until 1779, when it was confirmed for the first time that dengue fever epidemic occurred in Asia, North America, and Africa almost all at once. (6) Since then, dengue epidemics have been sporadic. By 1907, it was confirmed that the Aedes mosquitos were infectious, and dengue fever was caused by a virus. (6) Outbreaks of dengue fever became more common in 1953, when an epidemic of Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever first occurred in Philippines. Dengue fever epidemic first started out in Southeast Asia and spread into surrounding subtropical and tropical countries and continues to spread, even further out. Outbreaks in the Americas were rare due to the vector-control efforts in destroying the aedes aegypti mosquitos’ habitat. However, when they put a stop to destroying the dengue virus mosquitos in the 1970s, the mosquitoes repopulated most of the countries and by the 1990s, had expanded its habitation. Furthermore, a virus that was once thought to be confined to Southeast Asia, has had sporadic outbreaks with local transmission in the United States in the southern states such as Florida, Hawaii, and Texas. (7) Additionally, the dengue virus which had 4 types initially, now has a fifth...
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