A study published in the British journal The Lancet found that the number of dengue cases has nearly doubled every 10 years since 1990 due to the effects of climate change. Another study, published in the British journal Nature Microbiology, concluded that urbanization and mass population movements have contributed to the spread of dengue fever.
Dengue fever outbreaks occasionally occur in the continental United States, and are common in the US territories of Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2022, 116 dengue cases have been reported in the US territories as of July 6, 2022, which shows the virus remains a threat.
This article will introduce the cause, symptoms, prevention, and treatment of dengue fever.
- What is dengue fever?
Dengue fever is an infectious disease transmitted by mosquito vectors. Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are the main vectors and have the ability to transmit the virus after an incubation period of 8 to 12 days after biting a patient or an occult infected person.
Symptoms of dengue fever include a sudden onset of high fever for a week; a rash that initially appears on the palms, soles of the feet, and abdomen, and gradually spreads to the neck and limbs; headache, orbital pain, muscle, joint, and bone pain, and fatigue; and the redness of the face, neck, and chest. Patients are infectious from 1 day before to 5 days after the onset of the disease.
- How to prevent dengue fever?
Proper mosquito control measures are especially important to prevent dengue fever. The World Health Organization recommends that it is best to use mosquito nets when sleeping. Some mosquito eggs can survive for up to a year without water, and a small amount of standing water is enough for the eggs to develop into larval mosquitoes. Therefore, cleaning up stagnant water is also particularly important.
In addition, it's suggested to use mosquito repellent on the skin or clothes, repellent should contain DEET. According to the length of time spent outdoors, mosquito repellent products of different DEET concentrations should be chosen.
- How to treat dengue fever?
Dengue fever should be treated promptly at the onset of the disease. There is no effective treatment available, but mainly supportive care.
In general, bed rest and a liquid or semi-liquid diet should be given during the treatment period to prevent aggravation of the disease. For symptomatic treatment, physical cooling should be given for high fever, and antipyretic drugs should be taken. In addition, patients with profuse sweating or diarrhea should take oral rehydration, and patients with frequent vomiting, inability to eat, dehydration, or insufficient blood volume should be given intravenous fluids.
To date, there is still no treatment for dengue fever, and effective vaccines and licensed therapeutic drugs are required. Research has proved some potential targets for anti-dengue virus antibody and peptide discovery, including E Protein Domain III and prM protein. To advance this research, Creative Biolabs, a leading biotechnology company, has established an innovative AntInfectTM platform to support anti-virus biomolecular discovery research, covering SARS-CoV-2, HIV, Zika virus, Ebola virus, hepatitis virus, and dengue virus.