Dengue Fever: Causes & Symptoms

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Dengue fever is one of the worst viral infections that affect millions of people each year. While its mortality rate is relatively low, between 50 million and 500 million people are affected annually by the dengue virus. It used to be limited in its reach, but since the middle of the 20th century, it has become endemic in more than 100 countries.

What is Dengue Fever?

Dengue fever, also known as breakbone fever, is a tropical disease which is transmitted via Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. There are two more serious forms that dengue fever can take:

  • Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF): This results in bleeding and severe platelet decline.
  • Dengue shock syndrome (DSS): This results in a dangerous plunge in blood pressure.

Causes

Dengue fever is caused by any one of five types of dengue viruses. These strains of the virus are called serotypes and are medically referred to as DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, DENV-4, and DENV-5. If you survive one type of dengue fever, you typically have lifelong immunity to that variety, but if you contract the second type later in life, it usually results in serious complications.

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Symptoms

The symptoms of dengue fever are typically like:

While 80% of contracted cases are asymptomatic or imperceptibly mild, approximately 5% of cases show serious symptoms, while less than 1% of cases prove to be fatal. Recovery is usually within a week, but in some cases, it may worsen with time and become life-threatening.

Word of caution: Dengue fever particularly causes fatalities in children and those with pre-existing medical conditions. Children are easily affected as they have low immunity, and it can turn to a more serious condition like the dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome. Those who suffer from other conditions face a compounded effect from the symptoms of another disease, drug interactions, and specific restrictions they might have.

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