Dengue Virus and Dengue Fever:
What is dengue virus?
Dengue is an infectious disease of the tropics transmitted by striped Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and is characterized by sudden fever and causing rash and aching head and joints.
About Dengue Fever:
Dengue viruses occur in most tropical areas of the world. Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a more severe form of the viral illness. Dengue also goes by other names, including “breakbone” or “dandy fever.”
Dengue Fever Symptoms:
After being bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus, the incubation period ranges from three to 15 (usually five to eight) days before the signs and symptoms of dengue appear in stages. Dengue Fever starts with:
- pain upon moving the eyes,
- and low backache.
- Painful aching in the legs and joints occurs during the first hours of illness.
- The temperature rises quickly as high as 104 F (40 C), with relatively low heart rate (bradycardia) and low blood pressure(hypotension).
- The eyes become reddened.
- A flushing or pale pink rash comes over the face and then disappears.
- The glands (lymph nodes) in the neck and groin are often swollen.
- A characteristic rash appears along with the fever and spreads from the extremities to cover the entire body except the face.
- The palms and soles may be bright red and swollen.
- Fever and other signs of dengue last for two to four days, followed by a rapid drop in body temperature (defervescence) with profuse sweating. A second rapid rise in temperature follows.
Because dengue fever is caused by a virus, there is no specific medicine or antibiotic to treat it. Also, there is currently no vaccine available for dengue fever.
The prevention of dengue fever requires control or eradication of the mosquitoes that are carrying the virus that causes dengue.
Epidemic of Dengue Virus across the World:
The global prevalence of dengue fever (DF) has grown dramatically in recent decades; DF is now endemic to more than100 countries. During the past decade, DHF epidemics have occurred in China, Sri Lanka, India, the Maldives, Bangladesh, and Pakistan
Expansion of Epidemic Dengue Viral Infections in Pakistan
In Pakistan, an outbreak of DHF was first reported in Karachi in 1994. From September through December 2005, at least 3 major hospitals in Karachi had a sudden increase in the number of patients with signs consistent with that of Dengue Viral Infections.
Today the Epidemic of Dengue Viral Infections has spread severely throughout the country. According to Dr. Javed Akram, the Head of Jinnah Hospital Lahore and chairman of dengue expert committee: Until date, officially more than 3,500 people have been infected and over a dozen have died from the recent dengue virus in Pakistan outbreaks
“These are the official figures but I think the number of unreported dengue patients is more than 500, 000.”
This recent outbreak of dengue fever in Pakistan confirmed the presence of all four types of dengue viral infections in Pakistan. Two of these were reported in previous outbreaks in Karachi city, while a third has been reported in the Lahore outbreak of 2008. Now all four types of dengue serotypes have been confirmed in Punjab.
Hospitals Dealing with Dengue Viral Infections in Pakistan:
Heavy monsoon rains in Punjab has provided ideal conditions for dengue-carrying mosquitoes to thrive in stagnant waters. The number of Dengue Patients is constantly increasing. Seven patients lost their lives on 15th September 2011, while 5,500 Dengue cases have been confirmed in Punjab only. Out of 29 people who died of Dengue in Punjab, 25 were from Lahore, Geo News reported Friday, 16th September 2011.
According to District Health Officer Dr Khalid Randhawa, there are more than 30 private hospitals in the city. He said the number of private clinics with 20 beds was over 1,000.
Dr Farooqi said the government hospitals had accepted the challenge to cope with the situation but in case of increase in the number of patients, the services of private hospitals would be utilised. He said private hospitals would treat the dengue patients free of cost.
Ahmed Medical Complex, Sadiqabad, and Aziz Nursing Home had offered 30 beds each. While other hospitals including: Bilal Medical Centre offered 15 beds, Social Security Hospital 100 beds, Railway Hospital 16 beds and Islamabad International Medical College Hospital set aside 10 beds for the investigation and treatment of dengue patients.
Dengue Fever Treatment Costs:
A 15 days treatment of Dengue fever in Pakistani Hospitals can cost you around Rs. 102000. One mega unit of platelets, provided free at the public sector hospitals, costs Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 at private clinics.
Transfusion of more than one unit further increases the expenses of a private patient. Treatment of a dengue patient at a private hospital costs from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 million depending upon the number of platelets kits.
Prevention of Dengue Viral Infections:
Dr. Akram stressed the need of an integrated vector control strategy. He said that mosquito sprays are not sufficient as we need a multiple approach for mosquito eradication, such as biological control, Larvicide, mass awareness, quarantine for patients and travel advisory. Guppy fishes are the best agent for the biological control of dengue mosquito.
There is also a need for larger clinical studies in Pakistan and other South Asian to better understand the range of infections, endemic patterns and genetic susceptibility of different populations to the dengue virus.
Groupin.pk is also promoting awareness among the people to stop the expansion of dengue fever in Pakistan. Health services offered by Groupin.pk such as the primary health care diagnosis and treatments can help you and your family stay safe from dengue fever in Pakistan.
Please share with us your concerns, ideas and suggestions to control the epidemic of dengue fever in Pakistan.