Dengue fever is a very serious condition that affects millions of people every year. About four hundred million infections are occurring on a yearly basis and approximately one hundred million of those cause symptoms and illness. The condition is caused by a virus which is closely related to those that cause yellow fever and West Nile infection, respectively.
Dengue fever occurs in many tropical areas of the world, but those that are most affected by the virus are the Indian continent, Southern China, Taiwan, the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, Mexico, Africa, and The Caribbean. There have been cases reported in Paraguay, Chile, and Argentina, too.
In the United States, there’s no risk of the disease occurring naturally, but the infection is not absent as people contract it when they travel abroad. There are certain risks for those who live in the Texas-Mexico region and in various other southern regions of the United States. Despite not being that common in this country, there was an outbreak in Key West, Florida, back in 2009.
What are the symptoms of the disease?
Unfortunately, there aren’t any specific signs of this disease. There are some that could be considered clues, but they are not as evident so as to be considered specific. The disease starts with high fever, headaches, muscle and joint pain, as well as pain behind the eyes. Patients might experience vomiting and might also have skin rashes and mild bleeding from the nose or even bleeding gums.
Because it is often that the symptoms of the disease are more or less mild, the condition can be mistaken for a somewhat severe flu.
How is it diagnosed?
The simplest way of finding out whether a person suffers from Dengue fever or not is for that individual to have a blood test. There are kits that doctors can utilize to discover the pathogen. The recommendation is that you always have a talk with your physician if you are experiencing some of these symptoms and you have traveled to a tropical location recently.
Treatment and prevention
As of this date, there is no way of preventing Dengue fever because there are no vaccines. Although it might be close to impossible, the safest way of avoiding to contract the infection is to prevent bites from mosquitoes. Use repellents even when you’re indoors and wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to avoid exposing your skin. Tuck your pants into your socks to make sure that no skin is left out.
As for treatment, there’s no specific medicine invented for this disease. You can use all sorts of pain relievers, but you should avoid aspirin as it can worsen the bleeding.