Dengue fever or break-bone fever, as it is commonly known, is a leading cause of illness and death in tropical and subtropical countries. The disease affects many regions, especially along the tropical belt, covering South Asia, some regions of Africa, South America, and the islands of Southeast Asia.
The disease has been recorded through the annals of history, starting from the Jin Dynasty, which was prevalent in China during 265-420 AD. The disease spread from the African continent to other regions through the slave trade.
What Exactly Is Dengue Fever?
Dengue fever is an arthropod-borne disease caused by the Dengue virus.
More than one-third of the world’s population is living in areas that are at risk for transmission and as many as 100 million people are infected yearly by this virus.
What Causes Dengue Fever?
Dengue fever is caused by the Dengue virus, which is a positive stranded RNA virus that is borne by mosquitoes. There are four serotypes of this disease, and all four types can bring about the full effects of the disease.
The different serotypes of dengue are DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4.
Infection with one type usually gives lifelong immunity to that type, but only short-term immunity to the others. Often, more than one serotype is involved in an outbreak of the disease.
How Is Dengue Fever Spread?
Dengue fever is mainly spread through a vector, Aedes Aegypti, which is a mosquito. Other vectors that spread this disease include Aedes Albopictus, Aedes Polynesiensis, and Aedes Scutellaris.
These mosquitoes generally breed in places with stagnant water, and other water-holding containers in and around houses or in cool and dark sports like closets, which are infected with the dengue virus.
The disease is spread through the bite of an infected Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which instantly triggers the onset of the disease. When the mosquito bites an affected individual, the Dengue virus in turn infects the mosquito in its gut. It is then spread to other humans when the mosquito bites them to feed on their blood, and is rapidly and systematically transmitted in this way.
Depending on the signs, symptoms, and severity of the infection, Dengue fever can be diagnosed and treated.