Dengue: The Deadly Virus
The mosquito is the deadliest insect on the planet. It is known by many as the silent killer of Earth. In one day, we may see countless numbers of mosquitoes and we often ignore them. In ten mosquitoes, one or two could be carriers of the Dengue virus. Your life could be endangered without you knowing it.
Dengue is a very painful mosquito-borne disease. It is related to the West Nile Fever and the Yellow Fever because their symptoms are often interchanged and mistaken with one another. The Dengue fever is spread through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes.
The mosquito becomes infected with the dengue virus when it bites a person with dengue virus in their blood. Luckily, the virus can’t be spread directly from one person to another. It can only be transmitted by mosquitoes.
As of this moment, there are over 400 million dengue infections all around the world. Most cases of dengue occur in tropical areas. The following countries are greatly at risk of the Dengue epidemic.
- The Indian subcontinent
- Southeast Asia
- Southern China
- The Pacific Islands
- The Caribbean Regions, except in Cuba and the Cayman Islands
- It is also common in Central and South America except in Chile, Paraguay, and Argentina
Many cases in the United States occur in people who have recently traveled. They contracted the infection during their journey abroad. Current statistics state that people living along the Texas-Mexico border are at the greatest risk of Dengue Fever.
Dengue is recorded as the fastest spreading vector-borne disease in the world. It is endemic in 100 countries. Here are some facts you need to know about the Dengue Virus.
- The virus has four serotypes (DENV1, DENV2, DENV3, and DENV4)
- The preliminary infection of one of the four serotypes produces non-sever and asymptomatic symptoms. The second infection of any of the other serotype will result in severe dengue.
- There is no known cure for dengue yet. Early management is the only way that a person can survive the virus. There are cases when victims of dengue are diagnosed late. In this case, there is a high rate of mortality. This is one of the reasons why we need to understand the virus to know how to fight it.
Symptoms of Dengue Fever
The symptoms of the Dengue fever usually takes around four to six days before it manifests. A victim experiences the following symptoms once infected by the dengue virus:
- High fever
- Severe headaches
- Pain behind the eyes
- Severe joint and muscle pain
- Fatigue, Nausea, and Vomiting
- Dengue could also cause skin rashes. This usually appears around two to five days after the fever starts.
- Mild bleeding such a nose bleed or bleeding gums.
Sometimes, the symptoms are mild and are mistaken as symptoms of flu or other viral infections. When this happens, people tend to pay less attention to the illness until it gets so severe that it becomes deadly.
People who never had the infection before usually experience mild symptoms. However, it could lead to more serious problems if taken for granted. A severe case of dengue causes hemorrhagic fever. This is a rare complication characterized by high fever, damage to lymph nodes and blood vessels. Bleeding from the nose and gums can also be observed. Furthermore, severe dengue cases can also cause enlargement of the liver and failure of the circulatory system.
If the symptoms progress further, it leads to massive bleeding, shock, and death. This is called dengue shock syndrome (DSS).
DENGUE CASE CLASSIFICATION AND LEVEL OF SEVERITY
The illness is categorized into three levels depending on the severity of its signs and symptoms. The three levels are Dengue without Warning Signs, Dengue with warning signs, and Severe Dengue.
Dengue without Warning Signs
- Suspect dengue
A person is a suspect of dengue if he has an acute febrile illness of one to seven days plus two of the following symptoms: headache, body malaise, retro-orbital pain, and myalgia. A person could also exhibit anorexia, nausea, vomiting, arthralgia, diarrhea, flushed skin, and skin rashes.
- Probable dengue
A person is a probable dengue carrier if the Dengue antigen NS1 is present on his CBC test. This person could be diagnosed with leukopenia as a preliminary symptom for dengue.
- Confirmed dengue
A confirmed dengue carrier is characterized by a positive result of the dengue viral culture.
Dengue with Warning Signs
The signs can be observed by the gradual decline of the activity or general healthiness of a previously well person. The symptoms could be observed as follows: Abdominal pain or tenderness, persistent vomiting, clinical signs of fluid accumulation (ascites), mucosal bleeding, lethargy or restlessness, liver enlargement, increase in hematocrit and/or decreasing platelet count.
A person with severe dengue could experience DDS and/or fluid accumulation with respiratory distress. It could also lead to severe bleeding and organ impairment such as myocarditis and renal failure.
How to Prevent Dengue Fever
The best way to prevent dengue fever is to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes, especially when you live in tropical areas. However, no matter how much we try to avoid them, mosquitoes are everywhere. They are almost impossible to avoid. Which is why we need several tips for mosquito prevention.
- Use repellents even when you are indoors. There are lotions, perfumes, and candles that can repel mosquitoes. You can purchase some of them at a low price in department stores, online stores, and hardware stores. But be aware of the products you buy. There are certain scents that actually attracts mosquitoes instead of repelling them.
- Use mosquito nets while sleeping. Mosquito nets are very effective ways to prevent mosquitoes from biting you while you’re sleeping. Because of the warm weather in tropical areas, it feels uncomfortable to use blankets. For your convenience, get yourself a mosquito net to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when going out. Especially when traveling to bushy environments, wear protective garments to prevent mosquito bites.
- Use air conditioning if available. Although this method could increase your electric bill, it helps repel mosquitoes because it keeps you from opening your doors and windows. Plus, mosquitoes hate cold temperatures. They are unlikely to infest homes with a cold environment.
- Make sure that your window and door screens are secure and hole-free. Screen doors and windows are very good investments against all kinds of insects. To maintain their efficiency, make sure that there are no holes nor crevices on these screens that may allow mosquitoes to come inside.
- Speak to your doctor if you experience signs and symptoms of Dengue. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, do not assume that it is a flu or another viral infection. It’s always best to get diagnosed before it is too late.
- Get Rid of Standing Water around You. This is one of the best ways to get rid of mosquitoes in your environment. Mosquitoes breed in standing water. As much as possible, remove any standing water in birdbaths, watering cans, gutters, tires, pet bowls, and unused pools or ponds.
- Move Potted Plants Indoors during the Warm Weather. As we all know, mosquitoes are common during the summer. This is the time when their reproduction and infestation are at their peak. Potted plants have a huge tendency to accumulate standing water which can be a safe haven for mosquito larvae. To prevent mosquito reproduction, it’s best to move potted plants indoors or create a greenhouse where they can be protected from mosquitoes and other lawn pests. This could be a good thing for your plants to considering the fact that the heat of the sun could damage them outdoors.
- Grow Mosquito Repellent Plants. Here are some mosquito-repelling plants you can grow at home: Lavender, Marigold, and Lemongrass are just a few of the most beautiful and most effective mosquito repellants there is. This is the most effective and most natural method of preventing mosquito infestation. Apart from that, these plants are also effective to repel other pests such as rats, mice, and cockroaches. You can also plant basil, thyme, and rosemary at home to keep the ambiance fresh and beautiful.
- Use Coffee Grounds as a Mosquito Repellant. You would be surprised how coffee can benefit your life in another way. Most of us know coffee as one of the best ways to start the day. Only a few people know that coffee can be used as a mosquito repellant as well. To coffee farmers and coffee brewers out there, this might be the cheapest way for you to repel mosquitoes.
Did you know that coffee can help control the mosquito population in the environment? All you need to do is sprinkle coffee grounds around your surroundings. This kills mosquito eggs and mosquito larvae. Coffee grounds force the eggs and larvae to rise to the surface. By then, they will be deprived of oxygen and die off. For a more effective repellent, use older coffee grounds. You can age them for at least 25 days before you spray it on your surroundings.
- Use Insect-Repelling Lighting. Thanks to technology, scientists continually create different ways to make things easier for human beings. An easy way to get rid of mosquitoes around you is to install insect-repelling lights. You can purchase this in hardware stores at a cheap price. Examples of these lights are sodium lamps, yellow bug lights, and LED lights. All of which repel mosquitoes to fly closer. This is perfect when installing outdoors in front of windows and doors.
- Outdoor Oscillating Fan Works Too! You can also install a fan outdoors to prevent mosquitoes from coming in. The steady breeze produced by the oscillator is an effective repellant for mosquitoes in the environment. They won’t be able to fly further from the breeze. Hence, unable to reach the interior of your home. This is also a good way to ward off mosquitoes if you love hanging out on your porch on the warm weather. The fan helps to shoo away any hungry mosquitoes from coming near your skin.
- Install Bug Zappers. This is by far the most effective way to get rid of mosquitoes, flies, flying ants, and flying termites. You can purchase one in hardware stores and hang it on your porch. Install a bug zapper near places where you spend most of your time in.
This technology works by emitting UV light, attracting mosquitoes and electrocuting them upon contact. Recent innovations of bug zappers now come with a carbon dioxide emitter which will attract mosquitoes even more. I hope you don’t mind cleaning your zapper from time to time.
Call for a Professional Pest Control Expert
If you are looking for a pest control service near Denver, call for Lake Norman Pest Control. For more than 50 years, this company has been providing high-quality service in extermination. Equipped with environmental-safe methods of pest control, Lake Norman Pest Control eliminates and prevents all kinds of insects at a very affordable price. Got pests? There is nobody else well-suited for the job than the exterminators from Lake Norman Pest Control – the company that saves lives.