Dengue Fever – India

Five new dengue cases reported in Delhi, India. No deaths have been reported due to the vector-bone sickness this year.

Last week, five new dengue cases were reported. At least 81 cases have been registered for dengue so far this year. The capital reported 23 cases in January, 16 cases in February, 22 in March and 20 cases in April.

The cases of vector-borne diseases commonly spread between July and November and sometimes even last till mid-December.

Delhi has also reported 11 instances of malaria and eight cases of chikungunya so far this year.

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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