6 things you need to know about dengue fever
Over 120 cases of dengue fever were reported in Mombasa County by Sunday, May 8, 2017 – causing Mombasa County health officials to raise alarm over a possible outbreak of the tropical disease.
So far six sub-counties have been affected, but no deaths have been reported.
Wondering what dengue fever is and how you can protect yourself? Here are some important facts that you should know:
- What is dengue?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dengue is an ailment caused by any of the four related DEN serotypes, which are DEN1, 2, 3 and 4.
The virus is usually transmitted by a female mosquito known as the Aedes aegypti. Aedes is also known for spreading other known ailments like, Yellow fever, Chikungunya and the Zika infection.
- How many stages does it have?
As of 1997, dengue fever’s case was not classified in terms of its severity; it was simply diagnosed as the dengue virus.
In 2009, CDC advanced its case definition to three stages of the dengue fever: dengue without warning Signs, dengue with warning signs, and severe dengue.
- What are the symptoms? How do I know if I have it?
The only way to know if you have been infected us by taking a test at a medical centre.
In the first stage of the infection, a patient will have fever accompanied by either nausea, vomiting, rash, aches or pains. As the stages progresses, so do the severity of the symptoms.
A patient who is exhibiting dengue with signs will experience abdominal pain, extreme vomiting, fluid accumulation, nose bleeding, restlessness and sometimes liver enlargement to over 2 cm.
Severe dengue can cause acute damage to heart and liver organs resulting to their failure and possibly death.
After an outbreak in 2014, three dengue fever victim deaths were reported by government health officials.
- How is it treated?
If you suspect that you have been affected by dengue fever, you should immediately consult a doctor.
Though the CDC says there is no specified treatment of the dengue fever, doctors can manage the condition to ensure that it does not worsen.
Often, the hospital will start you on fluid replacement therapy and they will give you painkillers.
- How can I prevent it?
Though the World Health organization (WHO) reports that there is a vaccination for dengue fever, it is not accessible universally.
Your best bet lies with prevention.
A recent study on the Aedes aegypti mosquito in Puerto Rico found that the insect it can develop immaturely, leading to the production of up to thousands of Aedes adults in a day.
Since you cannot wipe out the insect population entirely, you should try to ensure that you eliminate breeding grounds around you.
Do away with stagnant water around habitable environs; this mostly applies to puddles water barrels and containers.
As with malaria prevention, you should sleep under a treated net. You should also make use of mosquito repellents when possible.
- Can an outbreak occur where I am?
Dengue fever is mostly associated with both tropical and sub-tropical areas.
Current records indicate that major outbreaks have occurred in Africa, South East Asia and South America.
In Kenya, until recently, dengue fever only attacked two regions: North Eastern and Coastal regions. However, the disease can occur anywhere where the Aedes aegypti mosquito is.
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