Dangers Of Dengue

Even the Asia’s cleanest city cannot escape deadly mosquito bites. Singapore reached a record high of dengue incidence in 2005, reaching 12,700 and nine deaths. But the cleanliness-obsessed Singaporean government is not taking the matter with no serious efforts. The government has taken the fight against dengue in a higher level by going down the ranks. The battle to curb mosquito bites has been waged on a house-to-house basis with the search-and-destroy campaign. The campaign will run with almost a thousand health officers and volunteers going to every household in areas where incidence of dengue are high. Manual household checks will be done to determine breeding spots and living areas of dengue-carrier mosquitoes. The rationale behind the campaign is that individual household checks can yield to specific preventive measures believed to be more effective than blanket policies used in the past. People and travelers alike, who are already diagnosed with dengue, will be required to use insect repellents so as to prevent more transmission from happening. The recent outbreak of dengue in Singapore is believed to have resulted in more damages than what SARS did in 2003. The uncontrollable rise in dengue incidence has left the government clueless for some time on what else is needed to be done, given all the existing measures they have been relying to, which in fairness succeeded in mitigating the extent of cases in the past years. The new improved per-household campaign has 30 million Singaporean dollars for its budget and multi-lateral efforts from local and foreign health agencies. Actually, it is not only Singapore that is suffering from increased rates of dengue incidence and dengue-related casualties. Indonesia, with the most cases, had 80,837 cases and 1,099 deaths during the entire year of 2005. Malaysia had 32,950 cases and 83 deaths. The Philippines islands, with 21,537 cases and 280 deaths, is also on the record for the year 2005 alone. But the increase in the rates of cases in Singapore is the highest in the Asian region, resulting in cancellation of hospital surgeries to give bed spaces for dengue patients. Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) and dengue fever are acute febrile diseases transmitted by mosquito bites by mosquitoes from the Aedes aegypti group. The term “dengue” is traced to a Spanish attempt at the Swahili phrase “ki denga pepo,” which means “cramp-like seizure caused by an evil spirit.” The first outbreak is believed to have occurred in the Caribbean in 1827-1828. The dengue virus belongs to the genus Flavivirus of the family Flaviviridae. This deadly infectious disease is manifested via recurring fever, extreme headaches, rashes, and muscular pains. The rash is distinctly bright red petechia, usually appearing on the lower limbs at the beginning, and the chest later on. But in some cases of severeness, the rashes can spread all over a patient’s body. Other signs like gastritis, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting can also be observed. A typical dengue fever will last about six up to seven days. The fever will peak before it ends. When a patient is suffering from a dengue case, the platelet count in the blood drops, resulting in further health hazards. As of now, there is still no commercially available vaccine for the flavivirus. The Pediatric Dengue Vaccine Initiative (PDVI) initiated in 2003 is yet the farthest scientists have gone in coming up with a vaccine to directly combat the virus causing dengue fever. The current measures being undertaken to cure dengue-inflicted people are mainly of supportive measures only. High oral intake of fluids or the supplementation of intravenous fluid are prescribed to prevent dehydration. In worst cases where in the platelet count is alarmingly low, blood transfusion is the last resort. Still, as a cliche goes, prevention is still better than cure. This is especially true in the absence of a specific cure as in the case of the deadly dengue. Basic prevention measure is the elimination of hubs, where mosquitoes thrive. This will not only deny existence for dengue-carrying mosquitoes but it will also affect those that carry malaria virus. Individual, community, and governmental efforts should play hand-in-hand to ensure the effectiveness of this basic measure. Spraying of insecticides in public areas, cleaning of clogged drainage systems in the community, and keeping each household free of breeding spots are the most practical steps in protecting the community from dengue. Personal prevention may be in the form of using mosquito nets, applying repellents, covering of exposed skin, using bed nets, and avoiding endemic areas. Other governments can also come up with innovative measures like what Singapore initiated. Published at: https://www.isnare.com/?aid=83058&ca=Wellness%2C+Fitness+and+Diet