This article is explaining all the aspects of dengue fever including types of viruses, types of mosquitoes who causing dengue, Transmission, signs and symptoms of dengue, treatment and home remedies for dengue, vaccines for dengue, etc. Read full articles to find your answer.

At the end of this article, I have added 18 FAQs related to Dengue fever which will again help you to clarify your doubts.

Dengue mosquitoes and Dengue virus/Cause of Dengue fever(DF)

Dengue fever (Which is pronounced as DENgee fever) is a vector-borne disease caused by sepsis of female mosquitoes known as Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. These are the same mosquitoes who transmit Yellow fever, Chikungunya, and Zika infection. You can easily identify the dengue mosquito, they are deep black in color, small in size and have white lyre-shaped markings and banded legs.

Dengue fever Vectors
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, (Dengue fever Vector)
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, (Dengue fever Vector)
 Aedes albopictus mosquito, (Dengue fever Vector)
Aedes albopictus mosquito, (Dengue fever Vector)

Dengue fever(DF) is a viral disease caused by the dengue virus. The virus has 4 stereotypes known as DENGUE VIRUS-1, DENGUE VIRUS -2, DENGUE VIRUS -3, and DENGUE VIRUS -4. These are from the Flaviviridae family.

Infection from one stereotype gives a lifelong immunity so, you can not have dengue more than 4 times in whole life (once from each virus).

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Epidemiology of Dengue

DF is mostly seen in the Tropical and Subtropical areas. According to global data every year there is 400 million people get infected with dengue. Approximately 100 million people get sick from infection, and 22,000 die from severe dengue. If dengue identified in early-stage then the mortality rate from dengue decreases to below 0.1%.

The prevalence of Dengue is increasing day by day due to poor sanitation and urbanization. In recent decades, the expansion of villages, towns, and cities increased the mobility of people which increased the number of epidemics and circulating viruses.

Epidemiology of Dengue
Source – Wikipedia

Transmission of Dengue/How Dengue Spread

Dengue is transmitted primarily by Infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Once the mosquitos are infected then they can transmit dengue virus throughout their life. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes bite the peoples in the morning and evening because this mosquito is a day feeder. This mosquito can bite multiple people in one feed.

Aedes albopictus mosquito is known as a secondary vector of dengue. This mosquito can also transmit the virus throughout her life after infected by the virus.

Humans are the main carriers of the dengue virus, An infected person can transmit the virus for 4 to 12 days. A non-infected mosquito can be infected after biting an infected person and that mosquito can spread the infection for a lifetime(After 4 to 5 days of the incubation period of the dengue virus in the mosquito).

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Classifications

It is classified by the WHO(World Health Organisation) as 1. Dengue and 2. Severe Dengue

WHO sets standards that if there are 2 or more common signs and symptoms then it is dengue if there is sever complication then it is severe dengue. The common facts about dengue are 75% of dengue infection is asymptomatic and 5% Symptomatic infections lead to severe dengue.

Dengue Hemorrhagic fever (DHF)

Dengue Hemorrhagic fever is an advanced stage which becomes more fatal. In some cases, DF can be developed to dengue hemorrhagic fever which can be life-threatening. DHF is characterized by severe bleeding from the cavities of the body; bleeding from nose, gum, mouth, severe internal bleeding, blood in urine and stool, bleeding under the skin, Severe hypotension, and a high-grade fever (more than 105F).

The patient can develop shock which more complicated the situation because the patient may require a ventilator and other life supports. In DHF patient requires transfusion of platelets and other blood products.

Kidney failure, liver failure, heart failure, and seizure can be the complication of DHF and the damages may be irreversible.

Prevention is the best option for DHF. when you get infected by the DF virus then keep on hydrated by iv infusion and oral intake, check platelet count daily, eat proper food as advised daily and look for signs of dengue hemorrhagic fever.

Pregnancy and Dengue virus

There is a possibility that infected pregnant women can transmit the virus to the baby via an umbilical cord or during delivery. The lactating woman also can transfer dengue virus through breast milk, but breast milk can not be stopped if the baby is below 6 months of age(If a lactating mother is showing signs and symptoms of dengue then immediately contact to your doctor).

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Sign and Symptoms of Dengue Fever (DF)

It is also known as Breakbone fever because it causes intense pain in joints and muscles. The signs and symptoms start within 4 to 10 days after a mosquito bite, this period is known as the Incubation period of the dengue virus. The symptoms usually last up to 2 to 14 days after FEVER started, unless it is developed to DHF.

 Common Signs and Symptoms of Dengue Fever
Common Signs and Symptoms of Dengue Fever
Warning signs and symptoms of Dengue
  • Fever >104 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Severe Headache
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Nausea & Vomiting
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Swollen glands
  • Rashes in the Skin(Dengue Fever rash)
  • Fatigue, Irritability or restlessness
Dengue fever rash
Dengue fever rash
Signs and symptoms of Sever Dengue or DHF
  • Severe abdominal pain and Diarrhoea
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Blood in the urine(Hematuria), blood in the stool(Malena), blood in the vomit(Hematoemesis), and blood in Sputum(Hemoptytsis)
  • Bleeding under the skin and Bleeding from gums or nose
  • Difficult in breathing(Dyspnea) or Rapidbreathing(Hyperventilation)
  • Severe low blood pressure(Hypotension)
  • Cold or clammy skin

If any of these symptoms persist then immediately seek medical attention.

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Dengue fever rash

Rash of Dengue looks like a maculopapular rash, which is reddish in color and has a small bump. It usually begins on day 3 and lasts for 3 – 4 days.

 maculopapular rash
maculopapular rash

Investigations for Dengue Fever (DF)

Investigation of Dengue mainly based on clinical findings, because there may be confusion in the initial stage of dengue in microbiological laboratory testing with other viral fever like yellow fever and chikungunya.

Blood platelet count is a laboratory test that is a very common test in DF because there is a depletion of platelet count in this disease. Tourniquet test is also done in DF. In the tourniquet test, health care providers apply a blood pressure cuff in the patient’s hand and deflect the cuff at the pressure similar to the patient’s mean blood pressure for 15 to 20 min, followed by counting of petechial hemorrhages. Dengue usually diagnosed if there is a formation of 15 to 20 patches.

petechial hemorrhages in a positive tourniquet test of Dengue fever
petechial hemorrhages in a positive tourniquet test

The confirmatory laboratory test of dengue fever is done by microbiological laboratory testing. There is a wide range of tests available but these tests are required advanced laboratory settings.

Tests include virus isolation in cell cultures, nucleic acid detection by PCR, viral antigen detection (such as for NS1) or specific antibodies (serology).

Dengue test
Dengue test

Dengue Fever Treatment/Medicines

There is no specific treatment for dengue because there are no specific antiviral drugs for DF, medical professionals treat dengue according to the symptoms.

90% of DF does not require hospitalization. Dengue can be managed by oral rehydration therapy (Fluid replacement), Fluid replacement can be done by iv fluids or oral intake. The management of fever and other common symptoms like pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea is done. Fever can be controlled by acetaminophen (Paracetamol), The patient may be required analgesic for severe pain but remember always avoid aspirin and other NSAID like ibuprofen in DF because it increases the risk of bleeding.

If symptoms like severe abdominal pain with diarrhea, Persistent vomiting, Bleeding through body cavities (Bleeding through urine, stool, and vomit), and low blood pressure seen then immediately contact a doctor because it may be symptoms of severe dengue or DHF. In this case, patients require hospitalization even intensive care units (ICU).

Prognosis

The prognosis of Dengue is good with proper treatment. The death is less than 0.1% but in hemorrhagic dengue fever, the death increases up to 2% with proper treatment. Without proper treatment, the death rate of dengue hemorrhagic fever increases by 40%.

The prognosis of dengue is very poor in Children below 5 years and old aged people because of complications. Dengue fever symptoms usually last for 2 to 14 days but the symptoms can be delayed with hemorrhagic dengue.

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Prevention of Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is best prevented by avoiding mosquito bites. Safe environment and personal protection (Mosquito repellant cream, mosquito net) is the best way to avoid mosquito bite.

Dengue mosquito is usually active in the day time, especially during sunrise (Morning) and during sunset (Evening time). A non-infected mosquito can be infected by an infected person, then the mosquito can be a carrier for dengue fever. so, always avoid mosquito bites if you have dengue fever to prevent the dengue virus from spreading.

Vaccines for Dengue Fever

Dengue vaccine is known as CYT-TDV which sold under the brand name Dengvaxia. it was invented in 2016 but till 2019 there are very limited asses to this vaccine. This vaccine is approved in very few countries, the united states approved this vaccine in May 2019.

Dengue Vaccines
Dengue Vaccines

There are some major restrictions on this vaccine.

  1. 9yrs to 45ys of people can get this vaccine.
  2. The vaccine is only for the people who have previously infected with dengue. (If you didn’t ever infect with dengue then this vaccine can worsen the condition).
  3. You can not get the vaccine if you have a poor immune function.
  4. The outcome of the vaccine is limited, it means you are not 100% safe.

Diet/Remedies for Dengue Fever

What should I eat if I have dengue fever? it is a very common question I heard. That’s why I have done the research for you guys about what should be the best food in dengue. The main problem in dengue is low platelet count which can lead to dengue hemorrhagic fever so here we focus on the food that can increase platelet count.

Papaya leaves – Papaya leaves are a proven ayurvedic medicine from ancient history for low platelet count. Taking papaya leaf extract during dengue can be very beneficial for patients.

Take fresh papaya leaves and grind it to take the extract. you can also drink it as a juice. if you don’t have fresh papaya leaves then you can buy papaya leaf juice or papaya leaves extract from the market.

Vegetables – Eat plenty of boiled or cooked vegetables like spinach, watercress, paprika, carrot, broccoli, pumpkin, celery, and beetroot can be very beneficial for dengue patients because it helps the digestive system a lot during the period of dengue.

Fruits– Fruits like tangerines, lemon, orange, tomatoes, berries, and apples are very helpfull in dengue because in dengue there is a lot more need for Vitamin C and Vitamin K. Vitamine K and C helps to seize bleeding and they also help in increase platelet level.

Aloe vera – Alovera juice has many micronutrients, antioxidants and vitamins like B and C which is very helpful in dengue. You can buy aloe vera juice from the market or can also make it in your home.

Coconut Water – Coconut water is rich in micronutrients which are very necessary to maintain hydration in dengue.

Green Tea – Green tea and Herbal tea helps to reduce symptoms in Dengue.

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FAQs Related to Dengue Fever

1. What is the first sign of dengue fever?

Warning signs and symptom starts with High-grade fever(>104 degrees Fahrenheit) and severe pain in joints and muscles. Other warning signs and symptoms of Dengue includes

  • Severe Headache
  • Nausea & Vomiting
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Swollen glands
  • Rashes in the Skin(Dengue Fever rash)
  • Fatigue, Irritability or restlessness

These are common signs and symptoms of dengue if disease progress to DHF(Dengue hemorrhagic fever) then the patient may show severe complications like bleeding and Hypotension.

2. What is the best treatment for dengue fever?

To date, there is no specific treatment for Dengue fever, you have to take symptomatic treatment like Paracetamol to control fever and pain, IV fluids and plenty of oral fluids to manage dehydration, etc. In the initial stage, If you take plenty of fluid and some supportive home remedies as I already described in this article you can cure dengue easily.

With some simple supportive treatments, you can manage Dengue at home but in case you show symptoms of Dengue hemorrhagic fever then it’s better to visit your doctor.

3. How long does it take to recover from dengue?

You started showing signs and symptoms within 4 to 10 days after a mosquito bite(this period is known as the Incubation period of the dengue virus). The symptoms usually last up to 2 to 14 days after FEVER started, unless it is developed to DHF (Dengue hemorrhagic fever).

4. Can you die from dengue fever?

Dengue can be easily cured with proper treatment. The death is less than 0.1%(Less than 1 death per 1000 infected people) but in DHF(Dengue hemorrhagic fever), the death increases up to 2%(2 deaths per 100 people) with proper treatment. Without proper treatment, the death rate of DHF is increased by 40%(40 deaths per 100 people).

5. What should not be eaten in dengue?

There is no specific caution for diet in dengue but you should keep in mind that in this period your body, as well as your GI system, is struggling. So, in this period avoid eating fatty, fried and spicy foods, avoid eating unhygienic foods, packed foods, processed foods, carbonated drinks and the food you think can be unhealthy for you.

As you know there is no specific treatment of dengue to date so, diet plays the main role in your recovery. Read the complete article to know what should you eat during this period.

6. How do you confirm dengue?

Investigation of Dengue mainly based on clinical findings(signs and symptoms). Some common tests include Blood platelet count and the Tourniquet test. If you are suspected then your doctor does some confirmatory test that includes virus isolation in cell culturesnucleic acid detection by PCR, viral antigen detection (such as for NS1) or specific antibodies (serology).

7. How long is a person with dengue infectious?

Dengue patients can transmit the virus to others through mosquitos up to 4 to 14 days. When a non-infected mosquito bites an infected person, that mosquito becomes a carrier of the virus and can transmit the disease throughout life. It’s the main reason dengue infected patients always advised to use a mosquito net to stop transmission of dengue.

The virus can also transmit through direct blood contact with an infected person.

8. What is the critical stage of dengue?

The critical stage of Dengue is known as DHF(Dengue Hemorrhagic fever). The incidence rate of DHF is 5 %, that means 5 out of 100 cases can develop DHF.

9. How do you die from dengue?

It’s not usually become dangerous with proper treatment and home remedies but if you developed Dengue Hemorrhagic fever(Complication of Dengue fever) then your chance of death will increases up to 2%.

In Hemorrhagic fever, you start bleeding internally and externally due to a very low platelet count. Dehydration can again complicate this situation by Hypotension. Hypotension and shock decrease your organ perfusion and cause multi-organ failure, which leads to death.

10. Does dengue go away by itself?

Yes, in some cases it can go away by itself but if you are experiencing symptoms then you should be careful. If you are experiencing mild symptoms then take home remedies and stay at the home to ensure enough rest.

11. Which foods increase platelets in blood?

Papaya leaves are a proven ayurvedic medicine for low platelet count. Taking papaya leaf extract during dengue can be very beneficial for patients.

You also can add vitamin A & C rich vegetables like spinach, watercress, paprika, carrot, broccoli, pumpkin, celery, and beetroot and fruits like tangerines, lemon, orange, tomatoes, berries, and apples.

12. Is Dengue transmitted by kissing?

No, don’t worry about this. Dengue does not spread through saliva, so don’t hesitate to kiss your loved one with dengue infection.

13. What are the warning signs of dengue?

Warning signs and symptoms of Dengue involves

  • Fever >104 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Severe Headache
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Nausea & Vomiting
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Swollen glands
  • Rashes in the Skin(Dengue Fever rash)
  • Fatigue, Irritability or restlessness

14. Can dengue happen twice?

Yes, Dengue fever can happen twice but not with the same virus. Dengue Virus has 4 stereotypes, Infection from one stereotype gives a lifelong immunity so, you can not have dengue more than 4 times in whole life (once from each virus).

15. How do you know if dengue is severe?

If you develop to Dengue Hemorrhagic fever or other complications of Dengue then you are in danger. The symptoms include…

  • Severe abdominal pain and Diarrhoea
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Blood in the urine(Hematuria), blood in the stool(Malena), blood in the vomit(Hematoemesis), and blood in Sputum(Hemoptytsis)
  • Bleeding under the skin and Bleeding from gums or nose
  • Difficult in breathing(Dyspnea) or Rapidbreathing(Hyperventilation)
  • Severe low blood pressure(Hypotension)
  • Cold or clammy skin

16. What is the first sign of dengue fever?

As you know dengue fever is otherwise known as breakbone fever, at the initial stage It causes high-grade fever with severe muscle and joint pain.

17. How does dengue rash look like?

Rash of Dengue looks like a maculopapular rash, which is reddish in color and has a small bump. It usually begins on day 3 and lasts for 3 – 4 days.

18. Is there any vaccine to prevent Dengue?

Dengue vaccine is known as CYT-TDV which sold under the brand name Dengvaxia. it was invented in 2016 but till today there are very limited asses to this vaccine.

This vaccine is approved in very few countries because this vaccine comes under some major restrictions, read the full article to know more about the Dengue vaccine.

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