Authored by Jackie Acosta in Diseases
Published on 12-09-2008
The World Health Organization named Dengue Fever as the most common mosquito-transmitted viral disease in the world. Dengue fever is a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes. The symptoms of which are sudden onset of fever, severe headaches and bodily aches and pains. With over 100 countries worldwide reporting Dengue epidemics, it has become an increasing cause of public health concerns internationally – especially since neither a cure nor a vaccination to prevent this disease has been developed!
While only a small percentage of Dengue patients succumb to the disease, doctors are only able to cure the symptoms of Dengue instead of directly killing the virus. Mosquitoes that dwell on stagnant water are exposed to a virus called Aedes Aegypti, which when transmitted to humans is the cause of Dengue Fever.
A person who recovers from Dengue Fever earns lifetime immunity from one Dengue strain – unfortunately there are 3 more available Dengue strains that a person becomes vulnerable to after recovering from one! The unlucky one who gets a second (or third) serving of Dengue is more at risk of a more serious case called Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) or Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS) which is fatal. For this reason, Dengue is a big concern especially for countries in South East Asia, Africa and the Americas wherein the disease is prevalent. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates a whopping one hundred million Dengue cases annually with only 50% of those infected seeking medical treatment. This number can keep growing as over 2.5 billion of the world’s population is at risk! The number of fatalities from Dengue fever annually is 30,000.
For now, the only way to prevent Dengue Fever is to combat the carrier – the deadly mosquitoes that contain the virus. Keeping an environment free of stagnant water is the first precaution to Dengue. As the virus Aedes Aegypti dwells and breeds in stagnant water, items that may cause water storage should be kept clean. Discarded plastic cups, plastics, pails and the likes can collect rain water and serve as a dwelling place for the virus.
It is important to keep the environment clean. Children are mostly susceptible to Dengue as they play outdoors and in all corners of the street where the deadly mosquitoes dwell. At home, all glasses and containers should be washed and dried. Extra precautions should be made in the laundry area and the bathroom where water is normally kept and exposed. Another safety precaution is applying mosquito repellant before leaving the house as one never knows when a Dengue carrying mosquito would come to feed.
Many think that the reason that there has been no cure or preventive vaccination from Dengue that has been developed is due to the fact that pharmaceutical companies are not convinced of investing in further research into Dengue as it may not be worthwhile in terms of profitability. While this is a sad thought that will not do one any good in pondering, what people can do is try their best to prevent the deadly mosquito bite!