Dengue Fever (2015)
Other than the annoying itching and swelling that result from a mosquito bite, diseases carried by mosquitos are also problematic, in particular, dengue fever... In 2013, a total of 150,934 people came down with dengue fever. As of early August 2015, 42,900 people were infected, including 35 deaths.
Important facts about Dengue Fever:
Transmission: Virus-carrying mosquitoes breed in clear water and are usually found in and around housing developments in urban areas. They are most active in the daytime. The virus can only be transmitted from mosquito to human; it is not passed from one person to another.
Symptoms: Once a person is bitten by a virus-carrying mosquito, symptoms only appear after an incubation period of three to 15 days (5 to 8 days in most cases). Dengue fever’s most common symptoms include:
- Sudden chills and pain around the eyes;
- High fever, up to 104° F / 40° C;
- Headaches, muscle pain and neck pain;
- Unexplained lethargy, loss of appetite;
- Nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea;
- Skin rash that usual starts around the abdomen and upper torso.
The high fever and other symptoms usually persist for two to four days and are followed by a rapid drop in temperature and profuse sweating. Next, a temporary respite usually lasting about a day brings a feeling of well-being as body temperature returns to normal. That’s followed by a second round of fast-rising fever accompanied by a rash which spreads from the extremities until it covers the full body except the face. Some patients suffer swelling and redness on the palms and soles of their feet.
Treating Dengue: There is no specific treatment for dengue fever, but it’s important to see your doctor if you develop dengue-like symptoms. In mild cases, doctors usually recommend patients drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, take Tylenol or acetaminophen to relieve pain and reduce fever, and be sure to get plenty of rest.
More severe dengue cases require hospital admission. Patients usually undergo intravenous (IV) fluid and electrolyte replacement, blood pressure monitoring, and in some cases patients may require transfusions to replace lost blood.
Less than 1% of dengue cases are fatal. The acute phase of the illness marked by fever and muscle pain lasts about one to two weeks. Patients usually feel quite weak, and full recovery can take several weeks.