• Shruti GOCHHWAL

8 Facts About Dengue That May Surprise You

Dengue is a viral disease that usually occurs in tropical and subtropical areas. This virus spreads through Aedes mosquitoes, one which can easily be recognized by the black and white stripes on their bodies and legs.

India contributes to 34% of the global threat of dengue and records an annual average of  20,474 cases annually.

Here Are some interesting facts on dengue that may surprise you:

1)  Dengue is the most prevalent vector-borne disease

Vector-borne diseases are caused by either mosquitoes, ticks or fleas which are known as vectors. They transmit parasites, bacteria or viruses into the human body. In this specific case, dengue is caused due to the transmission of a virus by the Aedes mosquito.

In addition, dengue diseases usually account for 400,000 out of 700,000 deaths annually caused due to vector-borne diseases and thus making them the most prevalent viral infection with an estimate of 96 million cases, according to WHO.

Caption: Typical breeding areas

2)  The mosquitoes can only breed in specific areas

The reason why dengue poses a greater risk in rainy seasons in populated areas is because it serves as a suitable breeding ground and, in addition, there is a high degree of contact between mosquitoes and humans.

The mosquito can practically breed in any area where clear standing stagnant water is available. These sites include tires, barrels, surface of AC trays, fridge trays, mud pots and potted plants.

To get a clearer idea, each egg needs only about one teaspoon of water in order to fully develop into an adult mosquito.

Although these mosquitoes feed on nectar and plant sugars, it is necessary for the females to bite humans as it requires human blood to produce eggs and maintain the breeding cycle.

: public domain pictures

Credit: public domain pictures

Caption: woman with hay fever

3)  Treatable in early stages, fatal in severe cases

At initial stages, symptoms are mild and are often mistaken for a flu or viral infection.

Most people with strong immune systems recover from this disease within a week or two when treated efficiently.

However, if the disease goes untreated, it can become life threatening. Once the disease enters the severe stage dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) is developed and leads to failure of the circulatory system, enlargement of the liver and fatal fever. It is then followed by excessive bleeding, shock and then eventually leads to death.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for dengue. Researchers are working on the process of eradication of the Aedes mosquitoes.


Caption: Elimination of Aedes mosquitoes

4)  Aedes mosquitoes is very difficult to eliminate

This is because these mosquitoes have evolved and adapted within the years. When there is a shortage of water or no available rainfall, they can still lay their eggs.

These eggs are adapted to survive dry conditions for several months and only start to develop when there is an adequate amount of water present, especially during the rainy season.

Due to this, dengue outbreaks are observed every rainy season and also makes the elimination eradication of these mosquitoes highly difficult.

5)  It is not a contagious disease

Dengue is not contagious as it cannot directly spread from one person to another.

The virus is transmitted when an Aedes mosquito bites an infected dengue patient. This is when the virus enters the mosquito’s system and begins to spread and multiply over a period of 1-2 weeks.

Once the mosquito is fully infected, it is capable of transmitting the virus into the human bloodstream during its next feed. Moreover, it remains infected for its entire life span which usually lasts for about a month.

: thermometer fever number

Credit: Nellis Air Force Base

Alt tag: laboratory: hunting microscopic enemies

Caption: Blood transfusion- infected donor to patient

6)  Other rare modes of transmission

In rare cases, human-to-human transmission of the dengue virus can occur during organ transplant or blood transfusions when an infected donor’s blood contains a high amount of virus in the body.

There has also been some evidence that suggests the possible transmission of the virus from mother to fetus through the placenta.

7)  One cannot become fully immune to dengue

The dengue virus has several strains.

Once a person has contracted the virus, this means that they have only contracted one particular type of strain and thus once cured, the person will have lifelong immunity to that particular strain.

However, this does not mean that the person cannot get dengue again as it is possible for them to contract another type.of strain which they are not immune to.

: thermometer fever number

Credit: pixabay

Alt tag : thermometer fever number

Caption: Decline of fever

8)  Decline of fever ≠ cured

A lot of people assume that when the fever subsides or the temperature lowers down, it means that they are cured from the disease.

To the contrary, fever is just one of the earliest symptoms during the onset of dengue as serious complications will start  to emerge 2-3 days after the fever subsides.

These complications include shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, abdominal problems, nose and gum bleeds or any form of haemorrhage.

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