Dengue Fever, an Infectious Disease in Africa; What is it & What can we do?

Article By Samantha Trolli IN News - 26th August, 2022

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What is it?
     Dengue fever is a viral infection that is transmitted from the bite of a mosquito carrying one of the four types of dengue virus, also known as DENV. More specifically the most common mosquitoes which carry the dengue virus are female and of the species Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Due to the four different variants of DENV, it is possible to be infected four different times.  

Symptoms
      Dengue fever causes a wide variety of symptoms, as well as a large spectrum of severity.
It is common to be infected with dengue and experience no symptoms, while at the other end of the spectrum severe dengue is possible and extremely dangerous. The most common symptoms of dengue fever are:
             Headache
             Rash
             Fever
             Vomiting
             Pain behind the eyes
             Muscle, bone or joint pain
             Nausea
             Abdominal pain
             Swollen glands
Fevers associated with Dengue can rise up to 104 F. Typically, symptoms relieve through proper intervention in around 7 days after they begin. Although, when symptoms do not diapate and continue to worsen, severe dengue fever can begin to set in. This occurs due to damage of blood vessels, causing levels of clot-forming cells in your bloodstream to drop. This can then lead to internal bleeding and organ failure. Symptoms of severe dengue don’t appear until around two days after a fever has lowered.  

Preventions & Treatments
     Currently, there is a vaccine approved for dengue fever, Dengvaxia™ . This vaccine is only recommended for people , aged 9 - 45, who have already been diagnosed with dengue fever. The purpose of this vaccine is to prevent severe dengue fever if you are infected in future, because your risk of severe dengue fever increases the more times you are exposed to the virus.
     As for treatment, there currently is no specific treatment option for dengue fever. Instead, there are recommended ways a person can help fight the virus. The main suggested way to manage your symptoms is by staying hydrated, getting rest, and taking acetaminophen (NOT ibuprofen or aspirin). It is important to speak with your doctor throughout your sickness, they can help recommend when you need to head to the hospital. 

Where is it? 
     Dengue is found mainly throughout tropical regions. It is important to note that according to the CDC, “Dengue outbreaks are occurring in many countries of the world in the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the Pacific Islands.” Around 4 billion people, which is almost half of the world’s population, live in areas with high risks of dengue fever. In most cases, dengue is one the the leading causes of illness in areas with high risk. 

What can be done?
     Preventative measures for dengue fever consist of protection from mosquitoes. This can be done by applying and reapplying insect repellents that contain 20%-30% DEET. It is important to cover exposed skin while outdoors, especially at night when mosquitos are more active. With no current treatment option for dengue fever, it is important that clinical research continues to aim to find one. Two forms of treatment need to be developed, one being for better management and another for prevention of severe dengue. When you partner with Infiuss Health, we can assist you in providing all your research needs to conduct your clinical trials on dengue fever. 

Photo is sourced from: https://www.cdc.gov/dengue/areaswithrisk/around-the-world.html 

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