by Dr. Rajiv Narula
Dengue Fever - a Global Health Problem, Why You Should be Concerned
Dengue Fever is a mosquito- borne, viral illness occurring primarily in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. The risk is greatest in the Indian sub-continent, Southeast Asia, South China, most countries in Cen tral and South America, Mrica, the Pacific islands, and even Texas, where there were cases last year.
This shows that Dengue Fever is a widespread problem with up to 100 million cases worldwide in
one year. The increase in population and unplanned urbanization has led to sub standard housing, water and sewage treatment, and poor mosquito control. The increase in air travel has allowed the virus to move through the world.
The virus is transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which lays its larvae in artificial water containers, such as discarded tires, plastic containers, flower vases.
The illness is characterized by the sudden onset of high fever, severe headache, joint and muscle pains and a rash. The disease is usually benign and self-limiting, but convalescence may take weeks. Their are no known permanent effects of the disease.
Prevention and control of Dengue Fever are important as there is no known effective vaccine on the mar ket. Travelers can avoid getting the fever by using DEET on exposed skin, and Permetherine repellent on cloth ing and mosquito nets. Travelers should stay in airconditioned hotels with well-kept grounds.
If you feel you have caught Dengue Fever, avoid analgesics with aspirin; use those with acetaminophen, and get rest, drink plenty of fluids and see a doctor.