The national capital has been crippled by the Dengue and Chikungunya outbreak which has already claimed dozens of lives.
Here’s all that you need to know about Dengue and Chikungunya:
What is Chikungunya?
Caused by the Chikungunya virus, the disease is marked by a sudden onset of fever two to four days after infection. The fever may last for a week and is accompanied by severe joint pains. The disease is not mainly lethal, however, considering cases where the immune system is compromised,the disease may cause death. Elderly or those who have chronic medical problems are most likely to suffer from a severe form of the disease. Infection is caused by two species of mosquito of the genus Aedes: A. albopictus and A. aegypti.The virus can also circulate amongst monkeys, birds, cattle, and rodents unlike dengue, which only affects primates.
What is dengue?
Dengue (pronounced den’ gee) is a disease caused by any one of four closely related dengue viruses (DENV 1, DENV 2, DENV 3, or DENV 4). The viruses are transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. In the Western Hemisphere, the Aedes aegypti mosquito is the most important transmitter or vector of dengue viruses.
What is dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF)?
DHF is a more severe form of dengue infection. DHF is caused by infection with the same viruses that cause dengue fever. It can be fatal if unrecognized and not properly treated in a timely manner. However, with good medical management, mortality due to DHF can be less than 1%.
Dengue and Chikungunya are transmitted to people by the bite of an Aedes mosquito that is infected with a virus. The mosquito becomes infected with the virus when it bites a person who has dengue virus in their blood. After about one week, the mosquito can then transmit the virus while biting a healthy person. These diseases cannot be spread directly from person to person.
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The principal symptoms for both the diseases are common:
Severe pain behind the eyes
Joint pain, muscle and bone pain
Mild bleeding (e.g., nose or gums bleed, easy bruising)
Generally, younger children and those with their first dengue infection have a milder illness than older children and adults.
There is no specific medication for treatment of the infection. Persons who think they are infected should use analgesics (pain relievers) with acetaminophen and avoid those containing aspirin.
They should also rest, drink plenty of fluids, and consult a physician. If they feel worse (e.g., develop vomiting and severe abdominal pain) in the first 24 hours after the fever declines, they should go immediately to the hospital.
DHF can be treated by fluid replacement therapy if an early clinical diagnosis is made. DHF management frequently requires hospitalization.
There is no vaccine for preventing dengue or chikungunya. The best preventive measure for residents living in areas infested is to eliminate the places where the mosquito lays her eggs, primarily artificial containers that hold water.
(Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)