Recent reports indicate that the death toll due to dengue in Telangana State has risen to over 50. More dengue-positive cases are being reported every day from various parts of the state. Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne infection that causes severe flu-like symptoms and can be fatal. The need of the hour, therefore, is to raise awareness on the condition, its treatment, and how to prevent the condition.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI), said, “Dengue is one of the fastest-growing mosquito-borne infections in the world and those infected have either mild symptoms or none at all. The mosquito Aedes Aegypti has ample breeding sites given that India is a dengue-endemic country. One of the foremost methods to contain the number of dengue cases is prevention. It is important to discard old things in which water can collect, as it may be a potential breeding ground for this mosquito. The statement that Aedes is a day-biter and only breeds in indoor freshwater are not entirely true. This mosquito can breed and bite in the evening or night as well. Precautions need to be taken round the clock as the mosquito only recognizes light, not day or night. As per recent studies Doxycycline, which has proven efficacy in vector-borne diseases like malaria and leptospirosis, is found to be effective in dengue.”
Adding further, Dr KK Aggarwal, said, “A mosquito’s breeding cycle takes 7 to 12 days to complete and therefore, proper cleaning of the house and surroundings once a week is recommended. It is customary in our country to clean our houses during the festival season and dispose of or give away all unwanted items. A similar Diwali-like cleaning ritual should be adopted before the monsoon season to eliminate possible breeding grounds for mosquitoes.”
Physicians must remember the formula of 20 while diagnosing and differentiating between simple and severe dengue cases. If a patient has a rise in pulse by more than 20; fall of upper BP by more than 20; difference between lower and upper BP less than 20, rapid fall of platelets to less than 20,000 with rapid rise in haematocrit by more than 20% and presence of more than 20 hemorrhagic spots on the arm after a tourniquet test then it is a high-risk situation and the person needs 20ml of fluid per kg body weight immediately and medical attention.
Dengue is both preventable and manageable. The risk of complications is in less than 1% of the cases and, if the public knows warning signals, all deaths from dengue can be avoided. Research suggests that doxycycline can be beneficial for dengue patients at high risk of complications.
Tips to prevent dengue:
Do not let water stagnate in and around your house, mosquitoes can lay eggs in money plant pots or in water tanks if not properly covered.
Wear full sleeves clothing.
Mosquito nets/repellents should be used both during the day and at night.