Dengue Fever in India

Learn A to Z about the Dengue Fever!

Malaria has been a constant health risk in India for decades, but Dengue in India is something that has spread its ugly wings across the country in around the last ten years. Dengue fever is a global issue at the moment (cases reported in over 100 countries). The Americas, South-East Asia and Western Pacific are among the most affected. Our country is right up among the worst-affected countries when it comes to this mosquito caused disease. This blog will give you insights into what dengue 2018 will look like.

Firstly, what is dengue fever?

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne, a viral disease occurring in tropical and sub-tropical areas. Mosquitoes are the carriers of this disease. They transmit it from person to person via mosquito bites. Dengue treatment in India has become an important point of discussion over the years.

Culprit: Aedes aegypti or yellow fever mosquito. They are recognized by white markings on its legs. Also, Aedes albopictus can cause this health risk.

Active period: Daylight – for approximately 2 hours after sunrise, and many hours before sunset. It travels short distances and not more than 500 meters in its lifetime.

Places found: Indoors – in closets, under beds, behind curtains; Outdoors – in cool, shady places.

Lifespan: Aedes aegypti is a holometabolous insect. It goes through a complete metamorphosis with egg, larvae, pupae and finally the adult stage. The adult mosquito can live from two weeks to a month, depending upon environmental conditions.

Transmission: This health risk is transmitted through the bite of the female mosquito, who obtains blood to gain nutrients for laying eggs. Remember, infections can be acquired even by a single mosquito bite.

Breeding: The females Aedes mosquitoes lay their eggs along the inner wet walls of containers with water. A recent study shows that the preferred breeding sites in India are plastic drums and cans, tyres, and barrels. Leaks in bathrooms, uncovered buckets, coolers and indoor plants are other favoured sites.

Dengue Virus

Current status of dengue in India

Since the 1990s, epidemics of dengue in India have been growing rapidly each year. Scientific developments mean the dengue mortality rate has decreased, but industrial developments, pollution and other causes have caused a change in the dengue status. This number is now rapidly rising each year.

In the early 2000s, the dengue status was a presence in a few regions in South India (Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Pondicherry) and some regions in North India (Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, Chandigarh, Punjab). However, dengue in India has spread over the last few years and now, signs of dengue in most places in India are not very uncommon.

Looking into Dengue 2018:

Dengue treatment in India now takes place all over the country but mostly South India, with Kerala reporting most cases. By August 2017, 23 cases of dengue deaths in the year were reported in Kerala. This was the highest in the country, with Uttar Pradesh in second, reporting 15 deaths. Until 30th July 2016, the total number of dengue cases in the country were 16,870. For the same period in 2017, the number increased to 28,702, as reported by the NVBDCP (National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme).

“We are monitoring dengue situation closely. It seems in coming days it is going to grow big. Vector-borne disease top our surveillance list during monsoon, and the dengue outbreaks will be bigger this year compared to chikungunya,” said an official from the National Centre for Disease Control, regarding the uncontrollable dengue epidemic in 2016.

Dengue Fever

States with most cases of dengue in India by mid-2017:

  • Kerala – 13,913 cases
  • Tamil Nadu – 5,474 cases
  • Karnataka – 4,186 cases
  • Andhra Pradesh – 798 cases
  • West Bengal – 571 cases
  • Maharashtra – 460 cases
  • Delhi – 237 cases

Dengue status in 2017: The confirmed number of dengue cases in India crossed 1,00,000 (1 lakh) for the first time last year, up from the number of less than 30,000 cases in 2010. This shows a rapid rise in dengue cases and while treatment of this disease is available, the number of dengue deaths are also on the rise. We hope the country is prepared for the onslaught of dengue 2018!

Recent stats

Dengue stats in 2017
Above: Dengue incidence rates as reported by the NVBDCP and Government of India. Looking at the increasing trends on the chart, dengue 2018 numbers could go through the roof.
The NVBDCP is a government programme launched in 2003. It was founded for dengue fever prevention and control of vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue and others. Also, for easier dengue treatment in India. As per their reports, it’s clear how the number of dengue cases has increased over the years.

  • Between 1998 to 2009 period, the number of reported cases of dengue was 82,327.
  • Similarly, the more recent period of 2010 to 2014 had 213,607 reported cases of dengue of dengue fever.
  • The incidence rate for the first time period is 6.34 per million of the population, as compared to 34.81 per million of the second time period.

Dengue Mosquito


Health risks

Stagnant water creates and maintains breeding sites. Consequently, this precipitation has a strong influence on mosquito distribution. The monsoons have arrived in India and it’s during this season that India gets about 85% of its rainfall. Every spot possible can attract stagnant water, and mosquito breeding nests increase. Similarly, the possibilities and probabilities of mosquito bites and mosquito diseases also increase. What also increases is dengue risk!

There are four dengue viruses (DENV 1 to 4) that cause dengue fever. Dengue virus symptoms usually begin 4-7 days after the mosquito bites. The fever may be mild but may gradually worsen within a few days. The most severe form of dengue fever, also called dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), can cause severe bleeding and other health risks.

Dengue is most dangerous:

  • In urban areas with population density and poor sanitation.
  • In warm and humid seasons. i.e. during and after monsoons.
  • At construction sites, in overhead tanks, buckets, utensils, etc, having stagnant water.

Who is a high-risk individual?

  • Those having prior infections with dengue.
  • People with weakened immune systems.
  • Those living in or travelling to dengue-endemic areas.
  • People of all ages and genders have dengue risk, but complications and death are higher in younger children.

Dengue fever symptoms

Around 390 million dengue infections occur worldwide each year, with about 96 million resulting in illness. Extreme cases of the dengue fever could lead to deaths as well. So, spot the signs of dengue and dengue fever symptoms and visit your nearest doctor ASAP. Don’t take this vector-borne disease lightly. In order to spot dengue, you must also know what the symptoms of the dengue fever are. Take a look at the main dengue fever symptoms:

  • Severe joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • High fever
  • Exhaustion/fatigue
  • Rash.
  • Drop in blood platelets

The presence of fever, rash, and headache (dengue triad) is one of the biggest characteristics of the dengue fever. If dengue virus symptoms are seen, show the victim to a medical professional quickly. DHF is something that tends to affect children below the age of 10 years. This complication of dengue causes:

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Hemorrhage (bleeding).
  • Circulatory collapse (shock).

Dengue fever treatment

Now there is no antibiotic or a specific medicine for the dengue fever treatment. The only treatment for this disease is for the relief of the dengue virus symptoms present. In April 2016, a vaccine for dengue fever was approved for use in dengue-endemic areas. However, the best dengue treatment in India is dengue fever prevention. Get rid of mosquitoes and avoid mosquito bites. Mosquito control or eradication is the best way to avoid fatal diseases like Malaria and Dengue. Simple!

What is dengue 2018 going to be like?

Dengue fever treatment in India is going to be a topic of high concern in 2018 and the years to come. While the number of cases has gone up, the number of dengue deaths has also gone up across the country. These dengue deaths in India are mostly because of the patients not receiving timely medical attention. They die due to the severity of the dengue fever symptoms when medical attention is not given on time.

If you are feeling the signs of dengue this monsoon, let your doctor know. The doctors will diagnose whether or not you have a dengue infection with a blood test. The dengue fever treatment includes a check for the virus or antibodies to it, and then treat you according to the severity of the dengue infection. Dengue treatment in India involves 2 tests:

  1. Initial test: The IgM and IgG are two tests that can detect the dengue virus while in the initial stages of infection. However, they could show false results, and hence, a confirmatory test is needed.
  2. Confirmatory test: Three days after the patient is suffering from dengue virus symptoms, the NS1 Elisa-based antigen test is carried out.

Platelets count

Platelets help the blood clot and stop bleeding. Checking your platelet count is important to spot any signs of dengue. If these platelets drop, you could be in serious trouble. Internal bleeding could begin, which would further lead to shock and multi-organ failure. These things are what happens when extreme cases of dengue lead to death.

  • Very low platelet count: The normal platelet range is between 150,000 and 450,000 per microlitre of blood.
  • Check your platelet count once in two days if less than 150,000.
  • Check your platelet count once a day if less than 100,000.
  • Please check your platelet count twice a day if less than 60,000. Also, do a daily test to see if the rate of drop within 24 hours is 50% or more.
  • If less than 30,000, it’s a medical emergency. Admit the patient to a hospital.
  • Blood transfusion is required if less than 10,000.

Recovery

You can recover from dengue fever symptoms within a week to ten days. However, the weakness and after-effects could be felt for a month or more, such as hair loss. This could continue for months after reported cases of dengue fever. Doctors prescribe paracetamol for fever and other dengue virus symptoms. They prescribe fluids to prevent dehydration. If a doctor is seen on time, the virus can be treated and the victim can be up and running in a couple of weeks.

  • What to prescribe: Pain relievers
  • What not to prescribe: Medicines like aspirin (they worsen bleeding)

Depending on the dengue status severity and how quickly you spotted it in the victim, he/she may or may not have to visit a hospital. If the platelet count is too low, admit the patient to a hospital. Most dengue cases are said to be treated at home but 1% of people need to be admitted to a hospital. Those likely to be admitted to the hospital when diagnosed with dengue include:

  • People with low immunity.
  • Those living with heart disease.
  • Those with diabetes.
  • People with lung disease.
  • Those with pneumonia and other diseases

Remember, dengue fever treatment is always secondary. Primary is dengue fever prevention. As the saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure.” Going to the doctor for the treatment of dengue will only happen if you contracted dengue in the first place. The root cause of dengue risks is mosquitoes. Just how trees won’t grow if you cut the roots, similarly dengue won’t spread if you prevent mosquitoes and mosquito breeding.

Prevention of dengue fever in India

Now that you know about the dengue status in India, let’s move on. We’ve reached the most important part of this blog, where you learn preventive measures of dengue. Prevention of mosquito bites = prevention of dengue in India. It’s as easy as that. Prevention of dengue in India isn’t that difficult. The prevention of diseases such as dengue is all in your own hands. It’s as simple as creating a checklist and ticking each one off the list.

Protecting yourself is a continuous process. We’re sure you all drive cars within your lanes to avoid accidents. We are sure you use sunscreen to avoid getting a tan. We’re sure you also studied before your exams, to avoid failing. Similarly, follow your dengue prevention checklist and learn ways to prevent dengue fever.

List of preventive measures of dengue that will protect you from the dengue fever:

  • Stay away from heavily populated residential areas and cities, if possible.
  • Make use of mosquito repellents, even if indoors. Use repellents containing 20%-30% DEET or 20% Picaridin. Apply according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • Wear neutral-coloured (beige, grey) clothing.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, when outdoors. Tuck pants into socks if there is a severe mosquito infestation.
  • Use air conditioning, if available indoors.
  • Check window and door frames. They should be secure and free of holes.
  • Use mosquito nets if sleeping areas are not secure or air-conditioned.
  • Speak to your doctor if you feel you have symptoms of the dengue fever.
  • Pre-soak or spray your outermost layer clothing and gear with permethrin (if available).
  • Get rid of water containers around dwellings and ensure that door and window screens work properly.
  • Get rid of yard items like old tyres, cans, or flower pots that collect rain. This is one of the most important preventive measures of dengue.
  • Apply sunscreen first, followed by the repellent (preferably 20 minutes later).

Dengue symptoms

A very important piece of advice

It’s very easy to catch the dengue virus within the household of someone who has already been infected with the dengue virus. If someone in your home gets the dengue fever, there’s a high possibility of a dengue mosquito biting him/her and then transmitting the virus to another member within the family. Other family members, follow preventive measures of dengue while treating one dengue-affected member of the family.

Family members should be extremely vigilant when it comes to protecting themselves against dengue risks. Don’t allow mosquito bites after one member already gets dengue. This is literally a sin. After one case of dengue in the house, adopt all possible methods to prevent mosquito bites in the household. See above for our list of ways to prevent dengue fever.

Final resort

Remember, mosquitoes are naturally more attracted to cities. If you live in a big city like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, and others, you and your families automatically contract the dengue risk. You need to be more alert and vigilant against the signs of dengue, for your own well-being. Sometimes, preventing mosquito breeding isn’t in your hands. Just don’t get bites in such a case.

Like we mentioned earlier, we have to eliminate the issue form the source. Follow some preventive measures of dengue. We must not allow mosquito breeding grounds, but there’s only a certain amount we can do for that. The last resort solution to the dengue problem would be hiring a mosquito pest control service. Professionals such as HiCare master in such pest control services. They could be your best chance of keeping mosquitoes and also decrease health risks!

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2 thoughts on “Learn A to Z about the Dengue Fever!

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