Dengue Diaries

The dengue deaths in the city in the last few days brought back memories of my own experience of this dreaded disease just about 10 months back. I had chronicled the events and anecdotes during my week long stay in the hospital and thought this a good time to share. For those unfamiliar with the disease, here is a synopsis of it.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dengue is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito infected with any of the four dengue virus (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, DEN-4) which belong to the genus Flavivirus. Infection with one virus provides lifelong immunity to only that strain of virus and only partial immunity to the other 3. Symptoms appear 3-14 days after the infective bite, which occurs only during the day. Symptoms range from a mild fever, to incapacitating high fever with severe headache, pain behind eyes, muscle and joint pain and rash. Severe dengue is a potentially deadly complication due to plasma leaking, fluid accumulation, respiratory distress, severe bleeding or organ impairment. Dengue is also known as ‘bone-breaking disease’ because the pain is so severe, it seems like the bones are breaking!

About 2/5th of the world’s population is at risk of contracting the disease. WHO estimates that 50-70 million dengue infections occur every year. The disease is now endemic in more than 100 countries in Africa, the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean, South East Asia, and Western Pacific. South East Asia and Western Pacific are most seriously affected.

There is no specific treatment for Dengue. Early clinical diagnosis and careful clinical management by experienced physicians and nurses save lives. Maintenance of the patient’s circulating fluid is the central feature of care. There is a dengue vaccine under clinical trials which has shown great promise. And I sincerely hope that it will be a success and help save lives

Stay tuned in..

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