An Endemic: Dengue
What is Dengue?
A mosquito borne viral illness, carried by the mosquito Aedes Egypti, mostly occurs in tropical areas.
Dengue can present as a mild disease as well as severe.
Symptoms for mild cases of dengue may include:
pain behind the eyes
Severe disease can occur quickly and can be life threatening. It may present with the following symptoms:
Severe stomach pain
Bleeding from your gums or nose
Blood in your urine, stools or vomit
Bleeding under the skin, which might look like bruising
Difficult or rapid breathing
Irritability or restlessness
Severe disease is known as Dengue Hemorrhagic fever and is a result of damaged blood vessels causing a sharp decrease in Platelets (clot forming cells). This may lead to shock, internal bleeding, multi organ failure and death.
When should you see a doctor?
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, please visit a doctor immediately. Severe dengue is a life-threatening emergency. Warning signs include severe stomach pain, vomiting, difficulty breathing, or blood in your nose, gums, vomit or stools.
How does dengue fever spread?
Dengue fever is spread through mosquito bites. If a mosquito bites a person infected with the dengue virus, the virus enters the mosquito. Then, when the infected mosquito bites another person, the virus causes dengue fever in that person as well. As dengue is recurrent in Pakistan, the Pakistani population, especially those that are now displaced by floods, may be at risk of re-infection. Therefore, serious complications may occur if not treated immediately.
The mosquitoes that carry the dengue viruses are most active from dawn to dusk, but they can also bite at night.
How is dengue fever diagnosed?
Dengue requires laboratory investigations to be diagnosed. Visit your doctor if you are having symptoms to get tested.
What is the treatment of dengue fever?
According to the World Health Organization, “There is no specific treatment for dengue infection, but early detection and access to appropriate healthcare reduces severe dengue and mortality.”
Prevention: What can you do to avoid dengue fever?
Wear protective clothing
Use mosquito repellant on your body. For your skin, use a repellent containing at least a 10% concentration of DEET. Permethrin can be applied on clothing.
Use mosquito repellant coils in and around areas where mosquitos are prevalent
Do not leave any standing water present or uncovered as this is where mosquitos lay their eggs.
Stay in a well-screened environment
According to the WHO, “Insecticide-treated nets offer good protection to people who sleep outside or during the day, including dengue patients in hospitals, and at night to prevent mosquito bites. "
What is happening in Pakistan?
Dengue is already an endemic in Pakistan. The Vector-Borne Diseases (VBD) Department of Directorate General Health Services Sindh has reported 2,922 dengue cases in Sindh from January 01 to September 04, 2022. After the torrential monsoon and flash flooding all over Sindh and Balochistan dengue fever cases are on the rise.
How can we help the flood affectees?
The displaced population, which in majority include women and children, are at an increased risk of dengue fever and other mosquito borne illnesses such as malaria. The flood victims are a vulnerable population with no roofs over their heads, therefore, exposed to mosquitos and the diseases they carry. We can come together to help our fellow Pakistanis by donating as much as possible and providing them with mosquito nets and tents for shelter.
Follow us on Instagram @khairpk to learn more about how you can help and donate.