Health Topics: /Dengue Fever

Dengue Fever – Introduction

Before we improve our awareness about this potentially dangerous disease, let us learn what the correct pronunciation is. Frequently called as den-goo, the correct way to pronounce it is den-gi.

Dengue fever is caused by dengue virus & is transmitted by the bite of a typical mosquito called Aedes aegypti , if it is also infected with it. The other name for this mosquito is Tiger mosquito because of the presence of stripes on wings and legs.

Characteristic of Aedes Aegypti mosquito-

Aedes Aegypti



  • it bites mostly during the day
  • bites many individuals to complete one blood meal
  • hides in dark places
  • found mainly near stagnant clear water

disease-cycleDisease cycle-

Aedes Aegypti mosquito bites (sucks blood) an infected human during his/her illness phase and gets infected for life time. This infected mosquito acts as carrier and then transmits the virus to other human beings which then manifest the disease.

Three types of manifestations are seen:

  • Classical Dengue –
  • DHF- Dengue Hemorrhagic fever
  • DSS – Dengue Shock Syndrome
Classical Dengue DHF DSS
High grade fever with chills
Features of classical dengue
Features of classical dengue
Severe body ache
Bleeding from gums, nose
Cold and clammy skin
Headache and pain around eyes
Skin patches/spots
weak pulse
Abdominal pain
Dehydrated look


All ages and both sexes are susceptible to Dengue fever. Children usually have a milder disease than adults. Illness is characterized by an incubation period of 3-10 days (commonly 5-6 days).



Any case of fever in rainy season should be suspected for dengue.

Following findings are a clue towards dengue-

  • Decreased platelet counts(normal 150000 cells/mm3)
  • Mild increase in hemoglobin due to dehydration.
  • Altered liver enzymes

Confirmation could be done by finding the presence of antibodies to virus in the blood.


The management of dengue fever is mainly symptomatic and supportive. It is important to carefully watch the patient for next few days as this disease can rapidly progress and lead to a medical emergency.

Do’s Dont’s
Control fever Ignore symptoms
Use only Paracetamol Take Aspirin/Brufen
Take plenty of liquids Neglect liquids
Adequate rest  

Warning signs which need immediate consultation from a doctor:

  • Red spots on the skin/rash
  • Bleeding from the nose or gums;
  • Frequent vomiting causing dehydration
  • Vomiting with blood;
  • Black stools;
  • Constant crying/Irritable child;
  • Pale, cold or clammy skin;
  • Difficulty in breathing.

Following methods of prevention can be incorporated in daily lifestyle –

Personal protection Household protection Community protection
Cover your body with full sleeves Use mosquito repellent sprays Fogging
Use bed nets Use mesh doors/windows Maintain sanitation
Use mosquito repellent coils/creams Avoid stagnation of water in pots ,tanks, coolers Avoid water clogging
tanki coil img3


Source: Hindustan Times New Delhi Edition


Big Trouble in Tiny Package

Source: India Today New Delhi Edition November 5,2012


Acute headache, pain behind the eyes, in muscles and joints. Severity of joint pain has given dengue the name ‘breakbone fever’.


It usually starts with high fever. A rash appears 3-4 days after the start of the fever. Vomiting and loss of appetite are also a common occurrence.


Initial illness lasts for two to three days. Fever then drops, with the patient sweating heavily. Temperature rises again, but not as much as <>the first time.


Analgesics and anti-fever medications are the best bet, but avoid Aspirins. Fever can last up to 10 days, but complete recovery can take as long as a month.


According to Ayurveda, the juice of papaya leaf has dengue-fighting properties. The leaves contain enzymes, chymopapin and papin, that can arrest dangerously falling blood platelets. Raw papaya leaves are crushed, strained and filtered for juice. Two leaves give about two tablespoons, and this is considered sufficient for a day. The juice should be taken raw, without altering or boiling. A bitter brew, it can be consumed with honey, twice a day, to fight the dreaded fever.


It is fearless and ferocious and it loves the heady taste of blood. Spiral-striped in black and white, the Aedes aegypti mosquito’s bite is the main way in which the dengue viruse spreads. It thrives in places overflowing with sewage, rubbish heaps and puddles of water. It loves congested cities reeling under real-estate booms, where it only needs to fly a short distance to suck human blood. It concentrates in areas where coolers and air-conditioners have not been cleaned for a long time. It revels in vicinities where there are hospitals, which are hotbeds for germs.


When blood platelet count falls below one lakh per cubic millimetre.
Complication and fatality depend on the type-variation of the virus. There are four types of dengue virus: Type I and III have a fatality of 1 per cent, Type II and IV 4-5 per cent. India typically gets the less virulent Type III. One just has to take care of the symptoms and the fever runs its course. Only 5-8 per cent of cases are haemorrhagic fever or the worst variety, dengue shock syndrome.


For further reading:

Source: National vector borne disease control programme

Control of dengue

Source: National vector borne disease control programme

Control of dengue

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