Dengue Fever – India
Delhi has reported 1,200 cases of Dengue in October, the highest count for the month in the last four years. Five fatalities due to dengue were registered on Monday.
Photo: Aedes aegypti or yellow fever mosquito.
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease caused by the dengue virus. Dengue is spread by several species of female mosquitoes but typically by a mosquito that has white markings on its legs and sides.
Dengue can exist anywhere that mosquitoes live and is fast becoming a global problem. As the world’s climate becomes warmer, the mosquito’s distribution has increased significantly in the past decades. Dengue is fast becoming a larger problem than malaria.
Symptoms may include a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash. In a small proportion of cases, the disease develops into severe dengue, also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever. A later reinfection can also cause serious complications.
Controlling mosquito populations is the main way to prevent and reduce dengue. Wearing long-sleeved clothing and long trousers when outdoors is always a good idea. In countries where the disease is endemic, use mosquito netting over the bed if the bedroom is not air conditioned or screened.
The first record of a case of probable dengue fever is in a Chinese medical encyclopedia from the Jin Dynasty (265–420 AD) which referred to a "water poison" associated with flying insects. The primary mosquito vector, A. aegypti, spread out of Africa in the 15th to 19th centuries due in part to increased globalization secondary to the slave trade.
The origins of the Spanish word dengue are unknown, but it is possibly derived from "dinga" in Swahili, meaning a disease caused by an evil spirit.
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