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DENGUE FEVER- “A Basic Knowledge”

DENGUE FEVER- “A Basic Knowledge”

People are becoming increasingly aware of the term Dengue but this was not the case some three hundred years ago when it was mistaken with similar diseases. This disease caused many deaths even in the earlier time. It was rather considered some sort of mysterious disease. According to some historians, epidemics of Dengue Fever occurred in 1779-1780 in Asia, Africa and in North America. Even in the next few years many people went the way of all flash. Now after these grim details I would rather like to proceed to the main points. Dengue is a viral disease. Viral Diseases are those diseases which are caused by viruses. These terms may puzzle those who are not interested in such sort of things but a little use of insight makes them crystal clear. Back to the enigmatic terms, viruses are actually tiny organisms which may be so small that they cannot be seen without an electron microscope. Viruses are at dagger drawn with us. These cause various diseases and the Dengue is one of them. Dengue is actually caused by four different sort of Viruses. But let us discuss the term Dengue again. The word is derived from a “Swahili” word “Dinga” which means “evil spirit”. The People of old times were mostly replete with ignorance. They believed in various superstitions. They believed that diseases were caused by various evil spirits. This account for the fact that they called dengue evil threats.
Now let us discuss the viruses which cause dengue they are as follows:

  • DEN – 1
  • DEN – 2
  • DEN – 3
  • DEN – 4
These viruses enter the human body by the bite of a mosquito. This is a very specific mosquito it is not actually the case of dengue it merely transfers dengue virus.
Such an organism is known as “vector”. The mosquito mainly belongs to the genus “Aedes”. The scientific name is Aedes aegypti. There is also another mosquito Aedes albopictus. Actually albopictus is not the father name as one might think this is a specious name. The appearance of Aedes mosquitoes is quite different from the anopheles (one which causes malaria). Aedes is slightly bigger in size and has black body with white spots. Just as global positioning system can be used to detect the position or location of a person using satellites Aedes mosquitoes have also got a system which enables them to locate human beings. They detect the heat released by the body. Moreover they also react to the chemical released in our sweat such as octinol. But one might think why do the mosquitoes bite us? As a matter of fact the female Aedes mosquitoes bite us to get the blood protein. As they need protein to lay eggs. The male aedes mosquitoes feed on the nectar flowers. The males are less ferocious. The female Aedes mosquitoes bite a person it transfers the virus into his body. In this way dengue virus enters into our bodies. It multiplies in our bodies and the symptoms of the disease appear after incubation period.
Now we come to the basic symptoms of the disease.
  • Fever
  • Pain in joints
  • Rashes on body
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Mouth and nose bleeding in severe conditions.
. There is a misconception that dengue always results in death. Such cases can be prevented if the patient takes complete rest drinks a lot of juices including fruit juices and ORS and takes care of himself. The only effective drug is Paracetamol to lower the temperature of patient other medicines like Brufen may cause complications. The complete isolation of the patient is not required. However the use of mosquito net is mandatory. The patient must not travel a long distance to avoid spread of disease. As dengue disease decreases the level of platelets in the blood the platelets transfusion may be done in certain cases. Now let us discuss how dengue fever can be eliminated.

There are two ways:
  1. Kill the virus
  2. Kill the mosquitoes

No effective drug is available to kill dengue virus however mosquitoes can be killed. Now a mosquitoe has a four stages in its life history:
  1. Egg
  2. Larva
  3. Pupea
  4. Adult
Larva and pupae are vulnerable stages and can be easily killed. These are present in clean water. So an easy way is not to allow water to stand. No egg no mosquitoe and consequently no dengue. The most effective weapon against dengue is cleanliness. We must keep our environment neat and clean to tackle the problem. People must be aware of consequences of dengue and Aedes mosquitoe bite. Use of mosquitoe nets and spray which kills mosquitoes are important methods of prevention of dengue. People must wear full sleeve shirts because the exposed skin surface have the chances of mosquito bite. Moreover, certain fish can also be released in water bodies which feed on Aedes larvae. Electronic mosquitoe rackets and electric nets are the most modern techniques forged in our fight against mosquitoes. These precautionary measures may serve the purpose of reducing dengue cases.

May Allah help us to eliminate Dengue Fever from our country. Ameen!

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