travelSince the dawn of civilization, it has been believed that dengue fever has been with humans, and emerged from Egypt during the massive slave trade. Since leaving the Nile delta, dengue fever has become a family of 5 serotypes, all of which are slightly different, and can infect a person via mosquito bite. Dengue has become more widespread since the 1940s and increase in international travel and globalization, especially in nations where dengue is endemic. Though dengue is not a directly fatal disease, if not properly treated, dengue can be fatal. Today, dengue is still present throughout equatorial and jungle regions, and still wreaks havoc in populations. However, with proper prevention measures and medical care, the severity of the disease can be mitigated.
Currently in Sri Lanka, due to the onset of an early monsoon season, dengue has infected nearly 76,000 people this year, and already killed 200. Despite government advisories and additional medical assistance, there has been difficulty getting the local population to cooperate with anti-Dengue protocols. With the warming of the planet, and the shifts in climate, an early monsoon season can cause the infectious vector-bourne disease season to come sooner than expected.
Common symptoms os dengue are like most viruses: fever, chills, muscle and joint aches, and headaches. However, a telltale sign of dengue is the rash that may develop on the infected person’s body. It is advised by the Mayo Clinic, that if you had recently visited an area of the world known to have dengue present and are experiencing a fever, see a doctor about possible dengue exposure. The virus is primarily spread by the female A. aegypti, the vector for the dengue virus. The dengue virus is spread from human to human by an infected mosquito, and passes during a blood-meal.
Like many common mosquito prevention methods, it is advised that if you are in an area that is affected by dengue that you utilize insect repellant, empty and disperse standing water, and wear clothing that helps minimize the risk of mosquito bites. Sadly, there is no clinical vaccine or specific treatment for dengue; a previously tested vaccine was not shown to be effective in preventing dengue.