Dengue fever is passed on by a mosquito bit, mostly the Aedes aegypti mosquito (or “tiger mosquito”). There are four types of the dengue virus, and the infection causes a wide range of symptoms, including fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, and rash. People infected with dengue often also experience long-term fatigue.Dengue occasionally develops into a life-threatening form (known as severe dengue), which causes abdominal pain and vomiting, breathing difficulty and a decrease in of blood platelets that can lead to internal bleeding.
ABOUT 2.5% OF THOSE INFECTED BY SEVERE DENGUE DIE,AND THERE IS NO CURE FOR THE INFECTION.
Many people infected by the virus a first time show few or no symptoms, but they can still contribute to the transmission of the virus if bitten by a mosquito.
Having been infected once does not protect you from the virus. In many cases, the second time you get dengue, the symptoms are more severe.
Symptoms of dengue fever
Where is it?
Dengue is the fastest-growing mosquito-borne viral infection and its impact today is 30 times greater than 50 years ago.
As recently as the 1970s, less than 10 countries had reported epidemic of severe dengue. These days, dengue is present in over 150 countries.While most reported cases are in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Western Pacific, dengue also is present in many African countries. And it is spreading to Europe, as well as in the USA and China.
Who is affected and who is most at risk?
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 40% of the world’s population is at risk of being infected with dengue. All age groups are at risk
What can be done to fight dengue?
Many governments are already doing a lot to fight dengue. Current efforts focus on prevention, such as using insecticides or reducing potential egg-laying habitats for dengue mosquitoes.Various organizations are also making progress in terms of immunization, with the most advanced vaccine candidate soon to be introduced in endemic countries.However, this is not enough. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other health organizations such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies (IFRC) call for a globally coordinated and integrated approach to addressing the issue, which risks becoming a global pandemic.
In 2012, the WHO issued a Global strategy for the control of dengue, with specific objectives to reduce mortality by 50% (2020), reduce morbidity by 25% (2020) and to estimate the true burden of the disease (2015).
The strategy relies on five technical elements: diagnosis and case management; integrated surveillance and outbreak preparedness; sustainable vector control; future vaccine implementation; and research.
In order for this to be achieved, nations and organizations must work together in implementing a cross-border, sustainable approach to controlling the burden of dengue.