Dengue also known as “Breakbone fever” is a painful and fatal disease which is spread via mosquitoes. As of Mid of July 2017, India had witnessed an increase of 11,832 cases of dengue as compared to 2016 out of which 46 have claimed the lives of the patients.
South Indian states were the worst hit with Kerala on top with a maximum reported cases of 13,913 cases alone; next in line is Tamil Nadu with 5474 cases; Karnataka with 4,186 cases; Andhra Pradesh with 798 cases. Other areas that are highly affected are West Bengal with 571 cases; Maharashtra with 460 cases and the National Capital with 237 cases.
States like Kerala and Uttar Pradesh have witnessed 23 (highest in the country) and 15 deaths respectively.
According to a recent study published in the PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases by Huaiyu Tian and Bing Xu from Beijing Normal University, China, together with researchers from the University of Oxford, air traffic hubs like Thailand and India seed dengue whereas China, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Singapore help diffuse the dengue virus to other Asian countries.
The Health Minister, J.P. Nadda has also asked the states to take help of aggressive awareness campaigns to spread awareness and to check the spread of dengue.
The main symptoms of dengue include –
sudden high fever (as high as 40 °C or 104 °F);
severe headache (usually behind the eyes);
muscle ache and joint pain;
flushed skin and
In some cases, a skin rash similar to measles.
It’s better to get yourself checked by a doctor as soon as you start showing strong symptoms because if left untreated it may in rare cases transform into a more life threatening condition called “Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever” which leads to bleeding in addition to decrease in blood platelet count, blood plasma leakage and in some cases a fatal shock syndrome leading to low blood pressure.
However, prevention is better than cure as Dengue shows symptoms anywhere between 3-14 days once it has already hit you. Here are a few preventative measures in order to protect yourself from dengue fever rather mosquitoes that carry the dengue virus:
Avoid and remove any standing water in open containers, coolers, buckets, barrels, tyres, etc
Add bleaching powder to the water meant for any purpose other than drinking
Use mosquito repellent and/or mosquito net
Wear full-sleeve clothes
Avoid perfumes or scented lotions or moisturizers as mosquitoes are drawn to strong smells
Get fumigation done regularly to disable the mosquito habitat