Saturday, April 11, 2009

What is Dengue Fever and Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever

What is Dengue Fever and Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever

The following information is taken from the website of Ministry of Health, Singapore.

Facts and Questions (FAQs) on Dengue

1. What is dengue fever?

Dengue fever is a disease caused by the dengue virus which can be transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. The incubation period of dengue fever normally ranges from between 3 to 14 days.

2. What is dengue haemorrhagic fever?

Dengue haemorrhagic fever is a more severe form of dengue and can be fatal if unrecognised or not treated.

3. How is dengue fever and dengue haemorrhagic fever spread?

Dengue is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are infected when they take a blood meal from a dengue-infected person. The virus does not spread from human-to-human.

4. Can dengue be spread from person to person?

Dengue fever cannot be spread directly from person to person. It is only transmitted/spread to humans by the bite of an an infected Aedes mosquito. A mosquito is infected when it takes take blood meal from a dengue-infected person. The virus does not spread from human-to-human.

5. When do the symptoms start to appear?

After the person is infected with the virus, there is generally an average of 4-7 days of incubation before the onset of symptoms.

6. What are the common symptoms of dengue fever and dengue haemorrhagic fever?

Dengue fever is characterized by the sudden onset of fever, (which can last up to 7 days) and is accompanied by intense headache, body aches, joint pains, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and the development of skin rashes. A blood test will often show low platelets.

Dengue haemorrhagic fever presents similarly to dengue fever but is associated with more severe bleeding problems (e.g. gum bleeding, nose bleeding and bleeding into the skin and internal organs) along with evidence of plasma leakage.

7. Can people suffer from Dengue and not appear ill?

Yes. Dengue infection without obvious symptoms tend to occur more frequently in children. Dengue infection in adults are more likely to be symptomatic.

8. Is there any treatment for dengue or dengue haemorrhagic fever?

There is no specific treatment for dengue or dengue haemorrhagic fever. However, supportive care with intravenous fluids and frequent blood test monitoring reduces complications of the disease. In severe cases, blood transfusions may be required.

9. Can dengue fever or dengue haemorrhagic fever lead to death?

Yes. Death can occur in a small minority of persons especially if the infection is not recognized early or early treatment is not sought.

10. How to prevent dengue fever from spreading?

Dengue fever can be prevented through measures to prevent mosquito breeding around the house and to protect against mosquito bites. More information about the prevention of mosquito breeding can be found here.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) ensures quality environmental health, and public can report to NEA (1800-2255 632 or about potential mosquito breeding sites.

Precautions include wearing long-sleeved clothes, using mosquito coils and electric vapour mats, and using insect repellent over the exposed parts of the body.

Adoption of good daily habits such as clearing blockages from the roof gutter, clearing leaves and stagnant water from drains, removing water from potted plants daily, avoiding the use of pot plates and changing the water in vases everyday will also help to eliminate the chances of mosquito breeding.

11. Is there a vaccination against dengue?

There is currently no vaccines available that can prevent dengue.

12. If I caught dengue fever before , will I be infected again?

There are 4 strains of dengue viruses. Infection with one strain will provide protection against only that particular strain. Future infection by other strains is possible.

13. Will I have to be hospitalised if I come down with dengue fever?

Hospitalisation is recommended for patients who have severe symptoms, and for patients with signs (eg, low platelet counts) that may lead to haemorrhage (internal bleeding).

14. My neighbour is down with dengue fever, what should I do to protect my family?

The best protection against dengue is to guard against mosquito bites and to ensure no mosquitoes are breeding in your home. For more information on prevention of dengue, please refer to the following website:

15. Is Singapore experiencing a dengue epidemic?

The dengue situation in Singapore coincides with a general upsurge of dengue cases in the region, and many other countries elsewhere. Dengue is, however, under control in Singapore as the country has put in place rigorous control measures. Life continues as per normal here.

16. I have low platelet count because of dengue fever. What is the normal platelet when I recover?

A normal platelet count would range from about 140 to 440 platelets x 10 9 /Litre, or about 140,000 to 440,000 platelets in each microlitre of blood. Each lab may differ slightly.

Current hospital guidelines allow patients who are recovering well and have a rising platelet trend or platelet above 70,000 to be discharged.

No comments: