Dengue fever is a nationwide risk in Pakistan. Dengue fever is endemic to the coastal areas of Balochistan, historically highest in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Authorities reported 3,442 dengue fever cases in Pakistan in 2017, more than 3,200 in 2018, almost 24,547 in 2019, and 3,442 cases in 2020. Keep reading to find out more:
What is Dengue Fever?
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne infection that can lead to a severe flu-like illness.
Dengue fever is not contagious, so it can’t spread directly from person to person. It is caused by four different viruses and spread by Aedes mosquitoes. It is possible to have dengue fever more than once. A second infection carries a higher risk of developing a harsher form.
Symptoms range from mild to severe. Symptoms may appear up to 7 days after being bitten by the mosquito that carries the virus.
These symptoms may include:
- Aching muscles and joints
- Body rash that can disappear and then reappear
- High fever
- Intense headache and pain behind eyes
- Vomiting and nauseous
These symptoms usually disappear after a week, and mild dengue rarely involves serious or fatal complications. Severe symptoms however include dengue shock syndrome (DSS) and dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF).
Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) Symptoms
At first, symptoms of DHF may be mild, but they gradually worsen within a few days and can be fatal without proper treatment. These symptoms may involve:
- Bleeding from the mouth, gums, or nose
- Internal bleeding, which can lead to black vomit and faeces, or stools ∙ A lower number of platelets in the blood
- High fever
- Sensitive stomach
- Small blood spots under the skin
Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS) Symptoms
The person may experience:
- Intense stomach pain
- Fast drop in blood pressure
- Heavy bleeding
- Regular vomiting
- Preventing dehydration: A high fever and vomiting can dehydrate the body.
- Painkillers: Tylenol or paracetamol can help lower fever and ease pain.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin are not advised because they can increase the risk of internal bleeding.
- Hospitalization will allow the individual to be properly monitored in case symptoms get worse.
No vaccine can protect against dengue fever. Only avoiding mosquito bites can prevent it. Anyone who lives in or travels to an at-risk area can use a number of ways to avoid being bitten.
- Reduce the amount of skin exposed by wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and socks.
- Use a repellent with at least 10 percent concentration of diethyltoluamide (DEET). Avoid using DEET on young children.
- Use mosquito traps and nets
- Structural barriers, such as screens or netting, can keep mosquitos out.
- Try to avoid being outside at dawn, dusk, and early evening.
- The Aedes mosquito breeds in clean stagnant water. Checking and removing stagnant water can help reduce the risk of its breeding.