Posts tagged ‘dengue fever’
A virologist, Dr Adekunle Adeniji, has said Nigeria is in danger of Dengue fever outbreak, another deadly fever in the class of Ebola virus disease, said to be transmitted by two types of mosquitoes now rife in the country.
Dr Adeniji, Director of World Health Organisation (WHO) National Polio Laboratory, Department of Virology, University of Ibadan (UI), named the mosquitoes as Aedes aegypti mosquito (yellow fever mosquitoes) and Aedes albopictusis (tiger mosquitoes), adding that the mosquitoes had been observed in Nigeria and that they spent their lifetime in or around homes.
According to Dr Adeniji, “there is no house that these mosquitoes are not present, including big hotels. We have all the four stereotypes of Dengue fever in Nigeria. Although not all mosquitoes are infected with Dengue virus, if beaten by an infected one, it will spread the virus.”
The expert said these mosquitoes, black and tiny, with white patches on it, look alike, adding that the recent case people thought was Ebola virus disease turned out be a case of Dengue fever.
He said Dengue virus had been isolated by the Department of Virology as back as the 70’s from humans and mosquitoes, declaring that Aedes albopictusis was not native to Africa, but found its way into Nigeria through the international trade in used tyres, where their eggs were deposited.
Although there is yet no outbreak of Dengue fever in Nigeria, the expert urged the people to protect themselves from being bitten by mosquitoes and also charged them to maintain clean environment.
Malaysia began rationing water to thousands of households in the most populous state today.
The water crisis comes amid rocketing rates of deaths from the killer dengue virus in the country. Infections have reached about 14,000 so far, this year.
(Pictured, a resident of Selangor’s Balakong awaits water deliveries)
Local media reports said the Langat river is also polluted with excessively high concentrations of ammonia, forcing the closure of some water treatment plants.
The lack of significant rainfall has caused increasing alarm, particularly in the state of Selangor, which surrounds Kuala Lumpur, and adjacent areas, as meteorologists have warned the dry spell could last another month.
Selangor is Malaysia’s most populous state and its economic and industrial hub.
Water rationing in the state will affect an estimated 45,000 households, a state government spokeswoman said.
“The reduction of water will start today,” she told AFP. “What we need now is the rain.”
Residents in the Selangor town of Balakong have complained for weeks about taps running dry and last week about 200 residents staged a protest calling on authorities to provide water, according to reports.
The state of Negri Sembilan, adjacent to Selangor, last week declared a water crisis.
The hot spell has also contributed to more cases of dengue fever as it speeds up the life cycle of the aedes mosquito that carries the virus and enhances replication of the pathogen, experts say. Deaths from dengue have risen to 25 this year, compared with just eight in the same period last year, according to the latest Health Ministry figures. The number of cases has also quadrupled to some 14,000 so far this year.
PETALING JAYA: The Health Ministry says it is facing a tough fight against dengue due to the aggressiveness of the disease.
“What we are seeing now is something very different from before, in terms of numbers and also the aggressiveness of the disease, and the aggressiveness on chance of mortality,” said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam in an interview that was aired in Al-Jazeera yesterday.
He added that the effective management of the outbreak revolved around control as there was no effective treatment for dengue.
“This is unfortunate, as we don’t have a vaccine; we don’t have an effective anti-viral treatment for it.
“The entire management of dengue revolves around control,” said Subramaniam.
The Star recently reported that the current surge of dengue cases was the result of a change in variation of the dengue virus. It was reported that there was usually an outbreak whenever there was a change in the dengue virus serotype as fewer people would be immune to the serotype after the change.
The current serotype DEN-2, which was discovered some time mid-last year, is more virulent.
Dengue infections are caused by four closely related viruses, namely serotypes DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4.
Deaths from dengue fever have nearly tripled this year. It was reported that 10,712 cases and 19 deaths had been reported up to Feb 6 compared to 2,836 cases and eight deaths over the same period last year.
Based on previous reports, Malaysia experienced its worst dengue outbreak in 2008 with 49,225 cases, while the highest death toll was in 2010 with 134 fatalities from 45,901 reported dengue cases.
The figures dropped in 2011 until last year when it began to increase again.
In Kuantan, Pahang health department director Datuk Dr Norhizan Ismail said the state recorded an upswing in dengue cases this year.
Until Feb 16, the number of cases were 165, an increase by 74 cases when compared to the same time period last year.
“Kuantan has the highest number with 104 cases, followed by Jerantut (15cases), Temerloh (14), Maran (10), Raub (six), Pekan (five), Bentong (three) and Rompin, Bera, Lipis and Cameron Highlands at two each,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Dr Norhizan said there were currently three active outbreak localities. They were Taman Balok Makmur in Kuantan; Taman Seri Kemuning in Temerloh and Felda Klau 1 in Raub.
DENGUE haemorrhagic fever has claimed 14 lives in Selangor as of the first week of October this year and the authorities are worried.
With 11,788 confirmed dengue cases as of Saturday last week, state health officials are worried more will be affected by the disease.
The figure is also alarming as it makes up more than half of the 22,925 confirmed cases reported nationwide.
Based on the figures, Selangor is recording 41 confirmed cases daily, or 287 cases a week, taxing Government hospitals in the state.
Health authorities in all nine districts — Gombak, Hulu Langat, Hulu Selangor, Klang, Kuala Langat, Kuala Selangor, Petaling, Sabak Bernam and Sepang — are on alert as certain neighbourhoods have been tagged as outbreak or hot areas.
It is learnt that the Health Ministry has identified 18 hotspots in Selangor.
In Petaling, which has 4,392 cases, six deaths have been recorded while Hulu Langat recorded three deaths out of 3,024 cases.
Gombak, Hulu Selangor, Klang, Kuala Langat and Sepang recorded one death each.
When contacted, a Selangor Health Department officer said all nine districts had recorded a total of 11,788 confirmed cases from January until the first week of October this year, which was 4,647 cases more compared to the same period in 2012.
“It is alarming. Figures show that last year we had 7,141 cases until the first week of October and at the end of December 2012, we recorded 9,113 confirmed dengue fever cases.
“However, there have been so many cases until October this year only.
“We fear there will be more cases as some areas are still labelled as outbreak zones,” he said.
Outbreak zones are areas that record many confirmed cases within a given period of time.
Classic symptoms of dengue fever are high fever, headache, body ache (both muscle and bone), weakness, vomiting, sore throat, altered taste sensation, and a centrifugal maculopapular rash, among others.
Due to the unbearable pain, the term breakbone fever is used to describe dengue fever.
Vaccines to fight the fever are not available yet and treatment is limited to intravenous drips.
Those with dengue fever can slip into dengue haemorrhagic fever if their blood platelet count decreases drastically.
When contacted, Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) Health and Environment Department (Public Health) I deputy director Dr Abdul Ghalib Sulaiman said in areas with a high number of dengue cases recorded, the public should take the necessary measures like keeping their premises clean to eliminate Aedes mosquito breeding grounds.
“Clean inside as well as your surroundings. Spend 10-minutes a week to ensure empty containers are not filled with water and become Aedes mosquito breeding sites.
“Most of the time, they breed in discarded or unwanted items left lying about,” he said.
Dr Abdul Ghalib said everyone must be committed to fighting the menace.
“Most of the time, it is the people’s indifference that hampers our efforts.
“There have been instances where health officers, conducting checks for larvae, have had the door shut in their faces or not allowed to fog premises where dengue fever cases were reported,” he said.
“These sort of incidents are occurring in urban areas, like in Section 12 off Jalan Universiti,” he said, adding that the Health Department had teamed up with residents of Flora Apartments Damansara, PJU 8, Damansara Perdana recently to clean up the area where 34 cases had been recorded.
“At the seven blocks of high-rise low- and medium-cost apartments, we found broken furniture, construction waste, empty plastic bottles and old mattresses discarded indiscriminately, leading to Aedes mosquitoes breeding here.
“We had to clear 10 lorry loads of rubbish from this place alone,” he added.
Dr Abdul Ghalib said a total of 120 residents and 30 MBPJ personnel were involved in the gotong-royong. Zone councillor Suriase Gengiah was also present.
“Fogging was also carried out. Our aim was to educate the people and not just issue compounds,” he said.
“Some think it is our job to keep their premises clean but this is a collective responsibility.
“Also, frequent fogging can result in the Aedes mosquitoes becoming resistant to the chemical and we do not want this to happen.
“We want to make the people accountable for their well-being,” he said, adding that most of the time the breeding ground was in the house compound.
Dr Abdul Ghalib said other areas in the city that were of concern are Desa Mentari (100 cases), Section 12 (24 cases) and Section 1, Taman Carey (16 cases).
“In these urban areas, the problem is complicated as people discard items without thinking of the consequences.
“One cost-effective method is to educate the residents to keep their premises clean in order to help the local council,” he said.
He said from January to September this year, MBPJ had issued 831 compounds.
Meanwhile, until the first week of October this year, dengue fever has claimed 52 lives nationwide.
The carrier: Dengue fever is caused by a family of viruses that are transmitted by the mosquito called Aedes, primarily Aedes aegypti. — Reuters
Some may call it breakbone fever, but we all know it as dengue fever.
MY daughter was recently diagnosed with dengue fever. She had a fever and a rash, and when we took her to the doctor, he sent us to the hospital because he said she had to be hospitalised. She is warded now and has been put on a drip. Is dengue fever dangerous?
Yes, dengue fever can be dangerous because of the possibility of bleeding. That is why your daughter is being warded in the hospital. There is no cure, and the only care is supportive. There is no vaccine for it either.
Dengue fever is actually caused by a family of viruses that are transmitted by the mosquito called Aedes, primarily Aedes aegypti.
Generally, the virus is called the dengue virus. There are four serotypes of the dengue virus, so it’s possible to get dengue fever four times in your lifetime.
The good thing is that once you suffer a particular subtype of dengue, you are immune to that subtype for the rest of your life. (With only three more subtypes to go.)
Dengue is also called “breakbone fever” or “dandy fever”, because the aches in the bones of the patients can be very severe. The word “dandy” came about because in the past, slaves in Honduras were in such pain that their posture and gait were altered. In fact, Honduras is in a state of emergency right now over a dengue outbreak which killed several people.
Dengue fever can affect anyone, but it tends to be more severe in people whose immune systems are compromised in any way, such as those with AIDS, or who are on chemotherapy.
How would I know if I have dengue fever?
The usual form of dengue fever (without bleeding) happens around five to eight days (but can be up to two weeks) after you get bitten by a mosquito carrying the dengue virus.
Then you get headache and chills. The pain is classically concentrated behind your eyes, but this is not necessarily always so. You can also experience backache.
Your joints and legs ache all over during the first few hours. After that, the fever spikes. It can be very high (around 40 degrees Celsius), and you will feel very ill. For some reason, your heart rate is low for the fever, and you can experience low blood pressure.
Your eyes become very red, and a pink rash starts to appear on your face (can also manifest as flushing). This soon disappears. Your lymph nodes in your neck and groin are often swollen.
After two to four days, your body temperature drops, and you experience a lot of sweating. You feel relatively well for a day or so, and you think it’s over. But it isn’t.
You can have another spike of fever, followed by a red (rosy) rash that covers your entire body (except for your face).
How can dengue fever make me bleed?
The more severe type of dengue (haemorrhagic fever) may manifest with petechiae, which are small red blotches of bleeding under your skin. You can have bleeding in your nose and gums, and also easy bruising. Your stools may even be black because of bleeding, and you can cough or spit out blood. There may be inflammation of your heart and lungs, as well as abdominal pain.
This is the type of dengue that can be very dangerous and can progress to an even more severe form of dengue fever: dengue shock syndrome.
The death rate in dengue hemorrhagic fever is around 2.5%.
What happens to me once I’m hospitalised with dengue fever?
Your blood work will be taken. In particular, the doctor will be monitoring (and in some occasions twice a day if it’s very serious) your platelet count daily.
Platelets are the blood factors that stop bleeding.
You feel extremely dehydrated when you have dengue fever, and you may feel thirsty all the time. So the doctor may connect you to an intravenous drip to ensure you are well-hydrated.
There are no antivirals to be given for dengue, and you can’t take medicines like Tamiflu either. So the hospital staff will just observe you, and the moment your platelet counts climb up and you are better, you may be discharged to go home to recuperate.
How long will I really take to recover?
Most patients stay in hospital for a few days, and then they are discharged home to recuperate.
The acute phase of the disease (with fever and body as well as joint aches) usually lasts for one or two weeks. You may actually take several weeks to recover because there is usually residual weakness. In general, you can go back to school or work in three weeks.
Photo above: A drain clogged with dead leaves near Block 220 Hougang Street 21. This is a potential mosquito breeding area along with the usual suspects such as roof gutters, uncovered buckets and plant pot plates.
SINGAPORE – After a short breathing space during the Chinese New Year, dengue fever cases are up again, with 297 people infected last week and another 162 since Sunday.
In the week beginning Feb 10, the number of people diagnosed with dengue fell to 247, from a high of 322 the previous week.
Another reason, he said, could be “the belief that visits to medical facilities during the Lunar New Year period do not bode well for the new year”.
So people who are not very sick might prefer to self-medicate.
A worrying trend that has emerged is that seven of the 24 active clusters are caused by Den-1 and Den-3 viral strains.
There are four dengue strains. Since 2007, the dominant strain has been Den-2, so the population might have little immunity against other strains. Furthermore, someone who has been infected before, tends to be more sick when infected by a different strain.
Three of the four clusters in Hougang, totalling 79 people, are caused by the Den-3 virus. The biggest, with more than 60 people infected, is in Street 51, Street 52 and Avenue 6.
Den-1 is responsible for three other clusters with 12 people infected.
A spokesman for the National Environment Agency said: “NEA and members of the Inter-Agency Dengue Task Force are stepping up inspections to search and destroy mosquito breeding in premises as well as outdoor areas in these estates.”
While dengue is endemic in Singapore, it is unusual to have such a high number of infections at this time of the year, which is traditionally the low season.
More than 2,000 people have been sick with dengue this year, compared to fewer than 600 over the same period last year.
Symptoms of dengue fever include a high fever, severe headache, joint and muscular ache and a red rash. In severe cases, the person could bleed from the nose and gums.
Anyone with such symptoms is encouraged to see a doctor as soon as possible.