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Dengue Fever – Forgotten threat looming in the background

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What a start to the year 2020, even as we are battling to contain and prevent the spread of NCOV-19, latest news report indicate that Dengue fever is on the rise again and this time it is back with a vengeance as there may be a switch in dominant serotype – something which usually precedes an outbreak. 

Dengue fever, also known as breakbone fever, is a mosquito-borne infection that can lead to a severe flu-like illness. It is caused by four different viruses and spread by Aedes mosquitoes. Authorities have been noticing an increase in virus type DenV-3.

Singapore being a highly dense built-up country has always faced challenges with Dengue fever all these years, As of November 29, 14,910 dengue cases have been reported, around five-times the numbers reported in 2018.

Mosquito, Macro, Insect, Bug, Animal

Dengue is transmitted by the mosquitoes Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, which are found throughout the world.

Around 2.5 billion people, or 40 percent of the world’s population, live in areas where there is a risk of dengue transmission.

Dengue is endemic in at least 100 countries in Asia, the Pacific, the Americas, Africa, and the Caribbean.

Symptoms usually begin 4 to 7 days after the mosquito bite and typically last 3 to 10 days.

Effective treatment is possible if a clinical diagnosis is made early.

For the past 30 years, most of the dengue viruses have been switching between DenV-1 and DenV-2. if a DenV-3 switch does occur, it may spark a big outbreak, as the rising mosquito-transmitted virus type DenV-3 has not been dominant here, at least for the past 30 years.

Source: https://www.nea.gov.sg/dengue-zika/dengue/dengue-clusters

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the primary vector for the transmission of dengue. It breeds well indoors, in clean, stagnant water easily found in our homes. To prevent an increase in dengue cases, residents and stakeholders must take proactive dengue prevention measures by practising the following steps immediately and frequently, to remove stagnant water in our surroundings:
•           Turn the pail 
•           Tip the vase 
•           Flip the flower pot plate 
•           Loosen the hardened soil 
•           Clear the roof gutter and place Bti insecticide inside

Symptoms vary depending on the severity of the disease

Mild dengue fever

Symptoms can appear up to 7 days after being bitten by the mosquito that carries the virus.

They include:

  • aching muscles and joints
  • body rash that can disappear and then reappear
  • high fever
  • intense headache
  • pain behind the eyes
  • vomiting and feeling nauseous

Symptoms usually disappear after a week, and mild dengue rarely involves serious or fatal complications.

Dengue hemorrhagic fever

At first, symptoms of DHF may be mild, but they gradually worsen within a few days. As well as mild dengue symptoms, there may be signs of internal bleeding.

A person with Dengue hemorrhagic fever may experience:

  • bleeding from the mouth, gums, or nose
  • clammy skin
  • damage to lymph and blood vessels
  • internal bleeding, which can lead to black vomit and feces, or stools
  • a lower number of platelets in the blood
  • sensitive stomach
  • small blood spots under the skin
  • weak pulse

Without prompt treatment, DHF can be fatal.

Do seek immediate medical help if you are experiencing any fever symptoms. As we are undergoing the NCOV-19 and potentially Dengue fever at the same time, we need to be on guard against all possible threats.

Preventive Measures Against Dengue

The first step towards protection is not letting the dengue virus in your body, this can be done by safeguarding yourself and your family against the bite of Aedes mosquito that spreads the disease and by doing the 5-step mozzie wipeout!

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