New Delhi: With the monsoon season in full swing, India has witnessed a rise in dengue cases. The national capital, Delhi, has reported one of the maximum cases, with more than 900 dengue cases in the last two months, according to the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) report.
To know more about Dengue fever and the preventive measures people can inculcate, NDTV-Dettol Banega Swasth India spoke to Dr. Ajay Agarwal, Head of Department, Fortis Hospital, Noida, and Dr. Dhiren Gupta, Senior Consultant at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi.
Dr Ajay Agarwal said that Dengue is one of the vector-borne diseases. He said,
Vector-borne diseases are illnesses caused by vectors, which are living organisms such as mosquitoes. Other vector-borne diseases include Chikungunya, Yellow fever, the Zika virus and Malaria. Dengue is transmitted to humans through Aedes mosquitoes, which are also known as forest mosquitoes and are mostly found in Southeast Asian regions.
Talking about the different types of strains of Dengue, Dr Dhiren Gupta said,
There are four strains of Dengue – DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, and DENV-4, all of which are capable of inducing severe disease. Among all of them, 99 per cent of the cases have mild to moderate symptoms. In recent times, a fifth strain (DENV-5) has also been identified.
Causes of Dengue Fever
Dr Gupta said that stagnant or slow-draining water provides ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The mosquitoes can also infect a person by entering homes through microscopic openings in doors, windows, vents, and chimneys.
He said that the weather conditions also influence the growth of these mosquitoes and the rise in Dengue cases. Detailing it further, Dr Gupta said,
Dengue outbreak is most common during the monsoon season, when mosquito populations tend to increase. Warmer temperatures enhance dengue virus replication within the mosquitoes’ bodies, so that they are able to infect new hosts more quickly.
Symptoms of Dengue
Dr. Agarwal and Dr Gupta said that symptoms of Dengue vary from mild, to moderate to severe in some cases. They listed down the mild and moderate symptoms that are experienced by 99 per cent of the patients, including:
- Mild Fever
- Throat Pain
- Recurrent loose motions
- Swollen Glands
- Pain in the eyes
- Mild Breathlessness
Dr Gupta said that the doctors are mostly concerned about the second group of patients, who experience severe symptoms such as:
- High grade fever
- Decrease in the platelet count
- Acute dehydration
- Severe abdominal pain
- Drop in the blood pressure
- Persistent vomiting and loose motions
- Yellow eyes
If the fever is detected late, the symptoms worsen and the patient may also require hospitalisation, Dr Gupta added.
Who Is Vulnerable To Dengue Fever?
Dr Ajay Agarwal said that the complications of dengue fever are primarily seen among the extreme age groups – newborns or children below one year of age and the elderly population. Besides, the disease is prevalent among people with weak immune systems and co-morbidities like diabetes, he added. Dr Gupta highlighted another set of individuals who are prone to Dengue fever – obese people and individuals who have been infected previously and were asymptomatic.
Treatment Of Dengue Fever
Dr Agarwal said that patients with mild or moderate symptoms are required to stay at home, include plenty of fluids in their diet and use medicines to bring down the fever if prescribed by the doctor. Patients with severe symptoms may require hospitalisation and platelet transfusions, he said.
Prevention Of Dengue Fever
“Prevention of the complication is the major treatment for dengue,” Dr Dhiren Gupta emphasised. Consulting the hospital right after recognising early signs can help reduce a significant number of dengue cases, he said.
Maintaining personal hygiene and cleanliness can help reduce dengue fever cases in a huge way, Dr Gupta said. He said that other preventive measures individuals can follow include wearing protective clothing during the monsoon season, to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes; using insect repellents at home; avoiding the accumulation of water in home appliances, flower pots, and vases as it would not allow these species to thrive; and cleaning drains at home to prevent any kind of blockage.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – theLGBTQ population,indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the currentCOVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,SanitationandHygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fightmalnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health,adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers andmenstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India wheretoiletsare used andopen defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched byPrime Minister Narendra Modiin 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.