Dengue is the most rapidly spreading mosquito-borne viral disease in the world. Unlike other mosquitoes, Aedes Aegypti, the main vector for dengue, bites during the day. Aedes albopictus, a secondary dengue vector, can survive in cooler temperate regions. There are 4 closely related serotypes of the virus that cause dengue and the lifelong immunity developed after infection.
In the past 50 years, incidence has increased 30-fold with increasing geographical expansion to new countries and, in the present decade, from urban to rural settings.
More than 2.5 billion people – over 40% of the world’s population – are now at risk from dengue. WHO currently estimates there may be 50–100 million dengue infections worldwide every year.
Severe dengue (also known as dengue haemorrhagic fever) is found in tropical and sub-tropical locations in most Asian and Latin American countries. An estimated 500 000 people with severe dengue require hospitalization each year, a large proportion of these are children. About 2.5% of those affected die.
Symptoms of dengue include fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, swollen glands and rash. There is no vaccine or any specific medicine to treat dengue. People who have dengue fever should rest, drink plenty of fluids and reduce the fever using paracetamol.
Severe dengue (also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever) is characterized by fever, abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding and difficulty breathing. It is a potentially lethal complication, affecting mainly children.
For severe dengue, medical care by physicians and nurses experienced with the effects and progression of the disease can save lives, decreasing mortality rates from more than 20% to less than 1%. Maintenance of the patient’s body fluid volume is critical to severe dengue care.
The only method to reduce the transmission of dengue virus is to control vector mosquitoes and protect against mosquitoes bites.