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Understanding Dengue: Symptoms, Prevention, and Global Impact

Dengue pandemic

By PREM KUMARPublished about a month ago 3 min read
Understanding Dengue: Symptoms, Prevention, and Global Impact
Photo by Hacı Elmas on Unsplash

Understanding Dengue: Symptoms, Prevention, and Global Impact

Introduction:
Dengue fever, caused by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, remains a significant health concern worldwide, claiming thousands of lives annually. To raise awareness about this disease, National Dengue Day is observed on May 16th every year in India. Let's delve into the intricacies of dengue, including its symptoms, historical context, and preventive measures.
The First Dengue Case:
The first reported case of dengue fever dates back to 1953 in the Philippines. Following World War II, environmental disturbances facilitated the rapid spread of the disease. Subsequently, dengue hemorrhagic fever emerged as a major cause of child mortality by the 1970s. Over time, dengue spread to various regions, including Southeast Asia, the Americas, Africa, Taiwan, and Mexico.


Dengue season in the Philippines:

Dengue fever is endemic in the Philippines, and the risk of transmission is highest during and immediately following the rainy season, which typically occurs May-November. Authorities reported roughly 226,497 cases of dengue fever in the Philippines in 2022, roughly 78,208 cases in 2021, and roughly 90,135 cases in 2020.


Dengue first discovered in the Philippines:

In the Philippines, a dengue outbreak was first reported as early as 1906 , and the first epidemic of severe dengue was documented in Manila in 1953

Types of Dengue:
Dengue fever manifests in three forms:

1.Mild Dengue: Characterized by manageable symptoms that resolve within a week.
2.Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever: Poses severe risks as platelet counts plummet rapidly.
3.Dengue Shock Syndrome: Represents a critical stage where hospitalization is necessary due to severe symptoms.

Seasonal Influence on Dengue Spread:
Dengue outbreaks often coincide with the rainy season, typically from July to October. The proliferation of mosquitoes in stagnant water during this period significantly contributes to the disease's transmission. Subsequently, as temperatures drop below 24 degrees Celsius, mosquito larvae struggle to thrive, resulting in a decline in dengue cases.

Global Burden of Dengue:
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), dengue infection is prevalent in over 100 countries, affecting approximately 3 billion people residing in endemic areas. Notable regions include India, Southeast Asia, China, Africa, Taiwan, and Mexico. Each year, an estimated 100-400 million individuals contract dengue worldwide.


Peru declares dengue health emergency:

Peru's health ministry yesterday declared a dengue emergency for 20 of the country's 25 regions, a step that allows the government to free up more resources to support its response.

In a statement, health officials said the health emergency declaration will be in effect for 90 days, and they will allocate at least $42 million toward response actions, including mosquito control and outbreak investigation.
So far, more than 31,000 suspected dengue cases have been reported, 17,965 of them confirmed and 32 fatal.

Cesar Vasquez, the country's health minister, said, "The unusual heat wave and the absence of winter have generated a perfect panorama for the spread of dengue."

Earlier this month, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said dengue activity in the region is already outpacing record levels in 2023. In an update, it noted that cases are rising in 11 Americas countries, including Peru.

Symptoms of Dengue:
Recognizing the symptoms of dengue fever is crucial for early diagnosis and treatment:

>Headaches
>High fever
>Joint and muscle pain
>Nausea and vomiting
>Fatigue
>Eye pain
>Skin rash
>Swollen glands
>Severe cases may exhibit additional symptoms such as intense abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding from the nose or gums, blood in urine, stool, or vomit, difficulty breathing, and lethargy.

Preventive Measures:

mitigate the risk of dengue infection, individuals can adopt the following preventive strategies:
Eliminate stagnant water sources around homes to prevent mosquito breeding.
Cover water containers to prevent mosquito access.
Wear long-sleeved clothing and use mosquito repellents, especially for children and the elderly.
Keep windows and doors closed or install mesh screens for ventilation.

Conclusion:


Dengue fever poses a significant public health challenge globally, with its prevalence exacerbated by environmental factors and urbanization. Raising awareness, early detection, and implementing preventive measures are essential in combating this infectious disease and reducing its impact on communities worldwide.

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    PKWritten by PREM KUMAR

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