Dengue Fever
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Mosquito Breeding and Dengue Fever

What is dengue fever?
Dengue fever is a viral infection that usually starts suddenly with a high fever, rashes, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, as well as muscle and joint pains. The severity of the joint pain has given dengue the name, "break-bone fever." Nausea feeling, vomiting, and loss of appetite are other common symptoms. A rash usually appears three to four days after the start of the fever. The illness can last up to ten days, but complete recovery can take as long as a month.

The dengue virus has four strains called serotypes 1, 2, 3 and 4. Getting infected with one serotype does not protect you against the other serotypes. In fact, getting a second dengue infection, particularly with serotype 2, leads to an even worse infection such as Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever and Dengue Shock Syndrome which can be fatal.

While most cases of dengue are not serious, it is important to note that with dengue haemorrhagic fever, bleeding may occur from the nose, mouth, and gums. There are small red spots on the skin and the urine may contain blood. Without prompt treatment, the blood vessels can collapse, causing shock, also known as dengue shock syndrome. Dengue haemorrhagic fever is fatal in about 5 percent of the cases, mostly among children and young adults.

How is dengue fever spread?
The virus of dengue fever is commonly spread from person to person through the bites of the Aedes mosquitoes which get the virus while feeding on the blood of an infected person. It takes an average of four to six days, with a range from three to 14 days, for the symptoms to show, starting from the time a person is bitten by an infected mosquito. An infected person cannot spread the virus to another person but can be a source of dengue virus for the Aedes mosquitoes for about six days.
What treatment can you get if you have dengue fever?
There is no specific treatment for dengue fever. Bed rest and drinking lots of water to prevent dehydration will help you feel better. For severe headaches and body aches, a painkiller (such as acetaminophen) may help to keep you comfortable. Daily blood tests may be necessary to monitor the risk of bleeding and in severe cases, blood and other fluid transfusions may be necessary. However, in most cases of dengue, recovery is assured.
How can you prevent being infected with the dengue virus?

To prevent dengue fever, you must prevent the breeding of its carrier, the Aedes mosquitoes. Aedes mosquitoes, identified by their black and white stripes on the body, breed in areas with stagnant water, especially in flower vases and flower pot plates. They like to bite during daytime, often indoors or in the shade.

Aedes mosquito

Aedes aegypti larva

Preventive measures hence include wearing long-sleeved, light-coloured clothing and using insect repellents on skin and clothes when in areas at risk of dengue. Ensure that your house is free from stagnant water by doing regular house-cleaning and changing water in flower vases every 7 days. If necessary, spray insecticide where there are mosquitoes present and enlist the help of pest controllers to carry out fumigation when you spot many adult mosquitoes.
Information Courtesy of Ministry of Health