Medical

Dengue Fever (Break Bone Fever, Singapore Fever, Dandy Fever, Dengue Shock Syndrome)

Dengue fever, yellow fever, zika, and chikungunya are all transmitted by the female Aedes mosquito found in tropical and sub-tropical regions (35°N and 35°S latitude). These mosquitoes transmit a virus. The CDC reports that there are 4 million cases annually. Symptoms vary widely from mild fever, runny nose, and fatigue to death.

Symptoms:

  • Symptoms usually begin within 3-14 days of being bitten
  • Then headache, eye pain, fever (102°-104° F), aching in back, legs, and joints, slowing of the heart rate, and redness of the eyes. Note: some or all of these symptoms may be present
  • Temperature usually resolves in 2-4 days, there is a brief period of feeling better and then a second spike in temperature occurs
  • A more severe variant is known as Dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome. As the name implies, after 2-7 days of the above symptoms bleeding of the nose, bowels, or stomach occurs rapidly. This is an emergency and requires medical evaluation.

Diagnosis:

  • Blood tests are available
  • Symptoms as above
  • Warning: Dengue symptoms are very similar to malaria

Treatment:

  • There is no specific treatment or vaccine
  • Rest, increased fluids, acetaminophen
  • Warning: Avoid aspirin, Coumadin, or any substance that can cause bleeding.
  • Observe closely after the initial fever resolves for signs of bleeding. This is an emergency.

Prevention:

  • As in all mosquito transmitted diseases, DEET or an appropriate repellent should be used frequently. The CDC and other groups have evaluated many different insect repellent. In general, DEET containing products provided consistent, reliable protection.
  • Mosquito netting.
  • Remove standing water. This was the main method of eradicating mosquitoes during the building of the Panama Canal.
  • Avoid or vacate areas of outbreak.
  • If going to an endemic area, check the CDC, WHO, or NIH websites to find out about areas of outbreaks.

Caution: All insect repellents are not the same. In third world countries repellents are often mislabeled or not labeled at all. For case study see: The Bite That Caused a Shipwreck on Isle Tortuga – My World

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