What is Dengue fever?
Dengue fever (pronounced Den-gay) is a viral infection caused by the female mosquito (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus). Dengue fever occurs in tropical and sub-tropical regions and usually increases in the hot and humid months. Dengue fever is not a new disease. It was discovered several hundred years ago. In recent years, dengue fever has become a major international public health concern.
Dengue fever nicknamed "breakbone fever" because dengue patients usually express contorted movements due to intense joint and muscle pain. Benjamin Rush from Philadelphia, US, first described "breakbone fever" in 1780. Slaves who developed dengue fever in the West Indies were said to have "dandy fever" because of their posture and gait.
Dengue fever lasts for approximately 7 days, despite its sudden and acute onset. However, extra precautions should be taken after the recovery period. These precautions will help prevent severe illness from occurring in some people, such as dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) or dengue shock syndrome (DSS). These illnesses are potentially lethal and are today the leading cause of childhood mortality in several Asian countries. How is Dengue fever transmitted?
Dengue viruses are transmitted to humans (host) through the bites of the female striped Aedes aegypti mosquito (vector). This variety of mosquito breeds easily during the rainy seasons but can flourish in peridomestic fresh water, e.g. water that is stored in plastic bags, cans, flowerpots and old tires. The dengue virus is transmitted to its host during probing and blood feeding. The mosquito may carry the virus from one host to another host and the mosquito is most active in the early morning and later afternoon. A mosquito bite can cause the disease. Incubation period occurs when the viruses has been transmitted to the human host. The period ranges from 3 to 15 days (usually lasting for 5-8 days) before the characteristics of dengue appear. During...
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