DENGUE is a mosquito-borne disease found in tropical and sub-tropical climates worldwide, mostly in urban and semi-urban areas.
Global incidence of dengue has increased dramatically in recent decades, and dengue is now fast emerging as a pandemic-prone viral disease in many parts of the world. Severe dengue (dengue hemorrhagic fever) was first recognized in the 1950s during dengue epidemics in the Philippines and Thailand.
The World Health Organization reported that “the incidence of dengue has increased 30-fold over the last 50 years. Up to 50-100 million infections are now estimated to occur annually in over 100 endemic countries, putting almost half of the world’s population at risk. It is a leading cause of serious illness and death among children in some Asian and Latin American countries.”
In the Philippines, there were 12,904 suspected cases of dengue reported as of February 6, 2016, with 49 deaths. This is slightly higher than those reported during the same period in 2015, according to the World Health Organization-Western Pacific Region.
WHAT IS DENGUE?
Dengue is a mosquito-borne infection that causes a severe flu-like illness (dengue fever), and sometimes dengue hemorrhagic fever, a potentially lethal complication.
Dengue is not transmitted directly from person-to-person. It is transmitted by day-biting mosquito (Aedes aegypti or more rarely the Aedes albopictus mosquito).
HOW CAN A PERSON BECOME INFECTED BY DENGUE?
A person can be infected if he/she is bitten by an Aedes aegypti mosquito that is infected by a virus.
The World Health Organization said “dengue is a febrile illness that affects infants, young children and adults with symptoms appearing 3-14 days after the infective bite.”
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF DENGUE?
- High continuous fever lasting for 2-7 days
- Severe headache
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle and joint pain
- Body weakness
- Bleeding tendencies from nose and gums
- Persistent red spots/rash on the face, extremities and trunks.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT/DRUG FOR DENGUE?
The Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH) said people who have dengue fever should rest, drink plenty of water to rehydrate and reduce the fever using paracetamol, not aspirin. If fever or symptoms persist for two or more days, the person should be brought to the nearest hospital.
In February 2016, the Philippines became the first nation to make the first-ever dengue vaccine in the world available.
Sanofi-Aventis Philippines Inc. said that the first dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia®, has already reached Philippines and are now available in the private market.
The Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines is encouraging healthy individuals aged nine to 45 years old to get vaccinated against dengue.
HOW CAN WE PREVENT DENGUE?
The DOH said we can prevent dengue by destroying or eliminating breeding containers such as bottles, drums, and used tires; clean clogged gutters; or turn flower vases upside down every seven days.
DOH added that “fogging is used to kill adult mosquitoes infected with the virus to immediately stop transmission. It is not recommended as a preventive measure, as it will be very costly to do fogging every seven days. It will not kill the larvae of the mosquitoes which become adults in 7-8 days.”
The World Health Organization also listed these preventive tips for individual and household against dengue:
- Clothing that minimizes skin exposure during daylight hours when mosquitoes are most active affords some protection from the bites of dengue vectors and is encouraged particularly during outbreaks.
- Repellents may be applied to exposed skin or to clothing. The use of repellents must be in strict accordance with label instructions.
- Insecticide-treated mosquito nets afford good protection for those who sleep during the day (e.g. infants, the bedridden and night-shift workers).
- Where indoor biting occurs, household insecticide aerosol products, mosquito coils or other insecticide vaporizers may also reduce biting activity.
- Household fixtures such as window and door screens and air-conditioning can also reduce biting.
Department of Health
World Health Organization-Western Pacific Region
Dengue Virus Net