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As per the National Centre for Vector Borne Diseases Control, more than 1,10,000 cases of Dengue have been reported in India till the month of October . There were also a significant number of fatalities all over India, leading to the authorities implementing strict prevention measures. Medical experts have concluded that a delay in monsoon withdrawal is the main reason behind this outbreak.
Although widespread, dengue is a treatable disease. Early detection of its symptoms and proper treatment can eliminate the virus from the patient’s body. However, if treatment is delayed, the conditions can get critical, which would require immediate hospitalisation.
|Symptoms||Fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, rash, etc.|
|Complications||Low levels of blood platelets, bleeding, low blood pressure, etc.|
|Causes||DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4|
|Onset||3-14 days after exposure|
|Diagnosis||Antigen test, PCR test, Immunoglobulin tests, etc.|
|Prevention||Dengue vaccine, decreasing mosquito exposure, etc.|
|Medication||No specific medication for dengue exists as of yet (Doctors generally prescribe analgesics and lots of fluid intake)|
Here’s a detailed overview of dengue – from its symptoms, types, diagnosis and treatment to complications. Keep reading!
Dengue’s symptoms may often match with that of the common flu. They are visible after 3 to 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. However, some people do not experience any of these symptoms.
The general dengue symptoms that you should look out for are as follows:
Additionally, some symptoms of severe dengue are as follows:
A majority of the patients generally recover from dengue within a week. But, in some cases, the severity of the infection can increase, leading to severe dengue or haemorrhagic fever. It is a situation in which the blood clotting platelets drop to an alarming level making the blood vessels leaky and damaged. This makes patients suffer from internal bleeding, shock, organ failure and sometimes, even death.
These warning signs can develop rapidly and appear after your fever goes away on the first or second day. So, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should go to a doctor and get Dengue tests done .
There are four types of viruses that can cause dengue fever. It is transmitted when an infected Aedes mosquito bites a human, allowing the virus to enter the body. The transmission cycle is as follows:
Dengue has 4 serotypes. An individual can get infected by the virus four times by any of these types. They are as follows:
It is one of the serotypes of the dengue virus in which all the symptoms are visible, with red eyes in patients being the most common. According to a study, the adjusted elevated risk for Dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) is 1.74, and severe dengue (SD) is 2.1.
The largest outbreak of this serotype was recorded in 2005 in Singapore, at 326.5 cases per 100,000 people . It has now become one of the most widespread mosquito-borne viruses in the world.
Compared to the previous serotype, DENV-2 shows fewer symptoms. Joint pain and low platelet count are its common signs, and it has an adjusted elevated risk of 0.5 for Dengue haemorrhagic fever. Over the last 50 years, this type has been the most common type of dengue virus affecting people in India, followed by types 3 and 4  .
If DENV-2 dengue virus is not treated on time, it can become severe and increase the chances of dengue shock syndrome and dengue haemorrhagic fever.
A strain of DENV-3 transmits at an unusually rapid speed that can even outpace vector control efforts. Outbursts of DENV-3 strain of virus have also been reported in Sudan and Australia.  However, it is also one of the less common strains.
DENV-4 is another dengue virus serotype that occurs in meagre numbers. This dengue serotype spreads the least rapidly. Not many cases of DENV-4 dengue have been reported worldwide.
Although DENV-4 is less prevalent, it has been reported to be involved with 10% of global dengue haemorrhagic fever cases. Most of the cases have been reported in tropical and sub-tropical areas. Recently, there has been a surge in DENV-3 and DENV-4 dengue cases in Singapore .
If you experience any of the above symptoms, you should immediately consult a doctor. This disease is easily treatable in the early stages; however, the situation can get very critical in case of severe dengue.
Moreover, you should consult your physician if you have visited an area with numerous dengue cases. You should also opt for a dengue test if you have returned from a trip and are experiencing fever or mild dengue symptoms. 
When an individual experiences dengue symptoms, a lab test is the only way to confirm the disease. It is ideal to get diagnostic tests done as soon as you start showing symptoms of dengue. Make sure to look out for the symptoms, especially during seasonal outbreaks.
To diagnose Dengue, your doctor will ask you to get a complete blood count test done along with the following:
This blood test is recommended within the first five days after the symptoms appear. It is only effective in the early stages of the infection, as in the later stages, the chance of getting false results are high.
The Dengue RNA PCR is another diagnostic test that doctors recommend during the early stages of the infection. You can get it done within 5 days of symptom appearance and get confirmation of dengue infection and the serotype.
Doctors recommend this dengue test in the later stages of the disease to differentiate between primary and secondary cases. You can opt for this test after 7 to 15 days after getting infected as, during this time, the IgG levels in your blood tend to rise.
This dengue test procedure detects IgM antibodies in your blood and assists in differentiating between primary and secondary dengue infections. Physicians recommend it if you suffer from dengue symptoms for more than 7 to 10 days. The reason being lgM antibody levels are at their highest by the 10th day .
In most dengue cases, the symptoms are mild or asymptomatic. If it is detected and treated during the early stages, the patient will return to normal after 3 to 7 days without suffering complications.
However, sometimes, the situation can worsen, leading to severe dengue. This stage of the disease is life-threatening and needs serious treatment at a medical facility. There is a 1 in 20 chance of people reaching this state, and with proper medical care, there is a more than 99% chance of recovery.
For pregnant women, dengue prognosis can include miscarriage, low birth weight and premature weight. Thus, they need to take proper precautions against this disease.
Note – When you get affected by a strain of dengue, your body develops immunity towards it. However, you can get infected by the dengue virus again via other strains .
To date, there is no specific treatment for dengue. When you notice any dengue-related symptoms, you should consult a doctor. Your physician will recommend you drink lots of water with added electrolytes and prescribe an over-the-counter (OTC) drug called Acetaminophen. It helps in reducing fever and muscle pain. Along with these, your physician will recommend you to take lots of rest.
If you notice any severe dengue symptoms, you must consult your doctor and get medical help immediately. There, you will get supportive care, Intravenous (IV) fluid, electrolyte replacement, blood pressure monitoring and blood transfusions to ensure that your condition is stabilised.  
You can take preventive measures to avoid getting infected by the dengue virus. This most effective way is to save yourself from the Aedes mosquito’s bite.
Although vaccination for dengue has been developed, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has put brakes on its widespread use. The vaccine, known as Dengvaxia, has been approved in the European Union and the USA.
Another vaccine, known as Qdenga, is also being developed in Tokyo; however, it might take years before it gets approval for mass production.
Let’s discuss some steps you can follow for dengue prevention:
Dengue complications like internal bleeding and organ damage can occur in severe cases. Moreover, the individual’s blood pressure can drop to very low levels, resulting in shocks. There are even instances of dengue fever being fatal for some people.
In addition, women infected with this disease during pregnancy can pass it on to their baby during birth. This can lead to complications like premature delivery, fetal distress, etc. 
Certain complications that may arise during the treatment of dengue are:
Dengue treatment charges in India, including diagnosis and treatment, can range from ₹5,000 to ₹5 lakh, depending on the condition. The average cost of treatment revolves around ₹30,000, and there are associated hospital charges as well.
Though mild cases can be treated at home, the above expenses may be applicable in case of severe ones.
With the increasing number of dengue cases in India, you need to watch out for its symptoms. Upon noticing any of them, you must promptly opt for medical attention to prevent the disease from taking on a severe form.
Proper treatment at the right time will ensure that this disease is cured and you won’t have to suffer from any complications. To keep yourself financially secure in case you or your loved ones get affected by dengue, purchasing a health insurance policy is a smart move.
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A dengue patient needs at least 7 days of rest to recover completely. During the treatment, doctors advise the patients to rest completely and intake lots of liquid.
Bathing using lukewarm water is recommended during dengue fever. It helps maintain hygiene and promotes faster recovery. Bathing can also help in regulating fever and help the patient throughout the recovery process.
Papaya, guava, apple, orange and banana are the best fruits for dengue patients. Doctors usually advise patients to consume a healthy diet during their treatment, which mostly consists of fruits & plenty of liquids.
Individuals suffering from dengue should eat protein-rich foods like milk, eggs, fish and meat to develop better immunity. Developing a strong immunity is of utmost importance during the recovery process.
There is no specific antibiotic for dengue. Doctors haven’t been able to find a cure for dengue. Water, Acetaminophen and lots of rest are what most doctors recommend.
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