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     Volume 6 Issue 34 | August 31, 2007 |

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Coping with Dengue Fever

M. Zakir Hossain

Dengue fever is a viral disease caused by dengue virus. Four types of dengue viruses; DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4, are mainly responsible for dengue fever in Bangladesh. These viruses reside in the infected species of Aedes mosquito- Aedes agypti and Aedes albopictus- and when they bite these viruses transmits from mosquito to human and causes dengue fever.

Initially a dengue patient has very high fever and gradually the other symptoms appear. The most prominent symptoms of dengue fevers are-

* High fever, up to 105°F
* Severe headache
* Retro-orbital pain (behind the eye)
* Severe joint and muscle pain and for this previously this fever was called as “ break-bone fever”
* Vomiting and nausea
* Rash on the skin
* Marked damaged to blood and lymph vessels
* Bleeding from the nose, gums or under the skin causing purplish bruises
* Fluids leaking outside of blood vessels
* Massive bleeding
* Shock (very low blood pressure)

Diagnosis of dengue is difficult initially. It can be diagnosed by doing antibody determination blood test 2 to 3 weeks apart. In the case of an epidemic condition a doctor can diagnose dengue fever by considering typical signs and symptoms.

There is no anti-dengue virus medicine available right now in the world and vaccine development is also on the way. So symptomatic treatment is usually given to a dengue patient. Normally a dengue patient recovers within 2 weeks and to accelerate the recovery from dengue physicians generally recommend

* Bed rest
* Drinking plenty of fluids
* Reducing fever by taking paracetamol Aspirin and
NSAID should be taken

If the conditions of the patients become worse the patients should be admitted to a hospital or clinic under a physician. In case of shock or comma platelet and electrolytes can be infused as a life saving therapy.

As dengue virus is transmitted from mosquito to human, the best way to prevent this disease is to avoid getting better by mosquitoes. The Aedes mosquito usually bites during the day. We have to take precautions especially during early morning before daybreak and in the late afternoon before dark. The reservoirs of mosquito moreover should be destroyed. Other precautions:

l Keeping unscreened windows and doors closed
l Aedes mosquitoes usually breed in stagnant clean water such as water of flower pot, discarded containers, plastic bottles and cisterns, hole on the trees, tyres, shell of coconut etc.

Dhaka City Corporation and other responsible authorities should make special efforts to make city dwellers aware of the ways to prevent Dengue fever.


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