Ms Iqra Khan

Dengue is a widespread disease which affects many countries, particularly in Asia and Latin America.  This is a viral infection that affects tropical and subtropical regions mostly after rainy seasons. There has been threatening escalation of dengue cases in recent decades. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 100-400 million infections per year. [1]

Dengue is a vector dependent disease that involves the following:

  1. Virus  –  the disease causing agent.
  2.  Mosquito –  the vector and transmitter.
  3. Humans –  affected ones, infection source.  

The mosquitoes involved are mainly females of specie Aedes aegypti and & Aedes albopictus.[2] They act as vectors and carry virus from one affected body to another via blood.

The positive-stranded RNA virus has four serotypes titling DENV that denotes Dengue Virus.

  1. DENV-1
  2. DENV-2
  3. DENV-3
  4. DENV-4

This means that a person can get infected at least 4 times prior to achieve immunity against the virus.

The symptoms of dengue infection vary from person to person.  Such as; common cold or flu with myalgia (muscle pain), arthralgia (joint pain), decline in the platelet count (thrombocytopenia) and fever etc.

Severe forms of infection are Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever and  Dengue Shock Syndrome.

In hemorrhagic fever, leakage of plasma (the fluid component of blood) occurs due to dramatic decrease in platelets count. Platelets are blood clotting or blood thickening cells. This condition is also known as thrombocytopenia.

In the shock syndrome fluid begins to ooze out in the interstitial space (space/lumen between tissues and cells of the body). These two conditions are serious and may lead to death of patient.[3]

So far there is no cure available against dengue. The treatment includes symptomatic management along with fluid therapy in case of excessive fluid loss. Due to unavailability of vaccine and proper treatment, advice is to prevent the infection from occurring in the first place. Prevention can be practiced by avoiding contact with the vector and vector control strategy[4]. Proper instructions should be provided to masses to prevent dengue. Electronic, social and print media need to be used for such awareness campaign.

Other preventing measures against mosquito bites include;

  1. Use of mosquito nets.
  2. Keeping doors and windows closed at dusk and dawn.
  3. Use of mosquito repellent lotions.
  4. Use of assistive devices for mosquito control and sprays.
  5. Covering water bodies to avoid growth of mosquito larvae in clean water.

The vector control strategy suggests environmental management along with chemical and biological control, to cease vector transmission. We need to make improvements in our daily life practices and improvisation of urban infrastructure.[5] Open pipes, poor sewerage management, unattended water storage in houses  lead to the spread of deadly disease.

As for the country we live in, lack of awareness and knowledge leads to uncontrollable cases every year. This can be rather smartly controlled and avoided by carrying out practices of prevention and behavioral changes. It is our duty to act as a responsible citizen, protecting ourselves and those around us.

Ms Iqra Khan is a student of medical university in Islamabad.


[1] Dengue and severe dengue. World Health Organization  (june23, 2020)

[2] www.who.int

[3] Jennifer L. Kyle and Eva Harris (2008) . lobal Spread and Persistence of Dengue

[4] Dengue Control strategies-WHO www.who.int

[5] Environmental management-WHO www.who.int

4 COMMENTS

  1. A topic well familiar but sparsely known to most people. A very informative article especially in current times when covid is the only infection people are focued on.

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