One of the most dangerous types of fever is the dengue fever. This is a life-threatening condition that is caused by infection of the dengue virus. The virus spreads through the bite of mosquitoes of the Aedes genus. The most common carrier of dengue virus is the mosquito Aedes aegypti. There are four different types of dengue virus. When one is infected with a particular type of dengue virus, the person develops lifelong immunity against that particular virus. However, there is no vaccine to prevent dengue fever. There are different types that develop after infection with the virus. These different types exhibit different symptoms.
What are the different types of dengue fever?
Dengue fever is caused by four different types of viruses. These viruses include Dengue 1, Dengue 2, Dengue 3 and Dengue 4. When a person is infected with dengue, it results in bleeding from the gums, nose as well as skin. A person can develop different types. When a person suffers from bleeding, he is said to be suffering from dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). When a person goes into shock, he is said to be suffering from dengue shock syndrome (DSS). If a person is infected with one type of virus and develops infection from a second type of virus, he is said to be suffering from dengue haemorrhagic fever
with severe shock. Thus, there are 3 types that a patient can develop.
Features of dengue fever
When a person develops sudden high fever of about 103 to 105°F along with severe headache, pain behind eyes
, skin rash, nausea and vomiting, dengue is suspected. The fever tends to last for 5 to 7 days and comes back after 3 to 4 days. The features of dengue fever make it easier to distinguish it from other fevers. These features include the symptoms such as muscle and joint pains. The muscle and joint pains give rise to the term break-bone fever for this tropical disease.
Classical Dengue Fever
Also called simple dengue fever, it does not lead to any complications. The symptoms are exhibited after 5 to 6 days of infection. The rash tends to get healed completely, but there may be a recurring episode of the rash
in some cases. The symptoms of this type are as follows:
Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF)
- Sudden onset of high fever (up to 105°F) with severe chills
- Severe headache (especially in the forehead)
- Severe muscle and joint pain
- Pain behind the eyeballs (especially after eyeball movement or pressing of the eye)
- Extreme weakness in the body
- Loss of appetite
- Change of taste in mouth
- Abdominal pain
- Pain in throat
- Typical rash on skin that has a mild flushing appearance, along with mottling or tiny eruptions on the face, neck, chest, limbs and back
The dengue haemorrhagic fever is the fatal dengue fever
type. It leads to complications in the vascular system. These complications cause excessive bleeding from various parts of the body. Symptoms of DHF are as follows:
Dengue Shock Fever
- Fever of about 105°F
- Bleeding from the nose, gums, in vomit, blood in stools, bleeding spots on skin causing bluish black spots
- Positive tourniquet test
- Acute joint pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rash on chest and limbs
- Blood vessels and lymphatic vessels malfunctioning
The dengue shock fever is commonly seen in children and teenagers. It is one of the most fatal types. The symptoms include:
- High fever up to 104 to 105°F
- Pain behind the eyes
- Severe headache
- Severe joint pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Patient appears very restless
- Skin is clammy and cold, even in case of high fever
- Patient loses consciousness
- Internal bleeding from blood vessels
- Low blood pressure leading to shock
Places where dengue fever is common
Dengue fever is common in Africa, China, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, South and Central America, the Caribbean islands, Australia, and the South and Central Pacific. This disease usually occurs during or shortly after the rainy season.
Diagnosis of dengue fever
This dreadful fever can be confirmed by a blood test
. There are 2 testing methods that are used to detect if an individual has contracted this disease. In the first method, the virus is detected by a culture, while in the other test it is detected by the anti-dengue bodies present in the blood.
Treatment for dengue fever
There is no specific treatment for dengue fever
. The treatment involves management of the symptoms exhibited. This includes administration of intravenous fluids or oral rehydration therapy. The patient is given pain killers and asked to take plenty of rest. In case of severe complications, the patient is admitted to the hospital. After a few weeks most patients recover completely without suffering from any complications. Medical attention is very important to prevent the disease from turning into a life-threatening complication.
Simple dengue fever does not lead to any complications and is not considered to be a life-threatening infection. But, if it develops into a haemorrhagic fever or the patient goes into a shock, it could turn fatal. If one develops sudden high fever, with headache, chills, joint pain and other symptoms mentioned above, seek medical attention immediately.
Preventive tips for dengue fever
Since there is no vaccination to prevent dengue fever, you need to take care of yourself while travelling to the destinations where dengue is prevalent. You can do this by taking the following measures:
- Using mosquito repellents
- Wearing long sleeve shirts and pants tucked into socks while outdoors
- Avoiding going into areas that are very crowded
- Sleeping with bed nets on, if the sleeping area is not screened or air-conditioned
- Keeping the area that surrounds your living quarters clean
- Making sure there is no stagnant water nearby
In India, dengue fever is at its worst and has been a cause of death. Thousands of people including women and children have died due to dengue fever in Delhi alone. It’s not an epidemic yet, but will soon become one if deaths continue. The only way if we strictly follow above mentioned tips. How can the dengue fever spread if we don’t allow Aedes aegypti to breed?