In Thailand, and worldwide, Dengue Fever is on the rise, last year (2012) Thailand recorded over 74,000 cases of Dengue Fever, 79 of which were fatalities. Worldwide there has been a 30-fold increase in cases of dengue fever over the last 50 years. Since being recognized as a major worldwide health concern in the 1950’s, dengue fever, pronounced “den-gay” or “den-gee” has become the fastest spreading insect borne viral disease in the woprld, there are believed to be between 50 and 100 million new cases of dengue fever every year.
Is dengue fever a major health concern in Thailand ?.
Dengue fever is the most common of the mosquito transmitted diseases in Thailand, the 74,000 cases reported last year represents 0.1072 percent of the population of Thailand. This is a small percentage, and the chances of contracting dengue fever are small, but dengue fever is on the rise in Thailand, dengue fever can lead to hospitalization and death in severe cases. Like malaria, typhoid, hepatitis and AIDS, you should consider dengue fever as a small but ever present risk in Thailand.
What is Dengue Fever.
Dengue fever is a mosquito borne viral disease, it is transmitted to humans mainly by the female Aedes aegypti (Dengue mosquito), and to a lesser extent the Aedes albopictus (Asian Tiger) mosquito. It is transmitted to humans when the mosquito bites it’s victim to feed on blood, the mosquito itself actually carries the dengue virus after feeding on a human who is already infected. There are 4 recognized serotypes/strains of dengue fever, (DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3 and DENV-4), infection and recovery from one serotype is said to make you immune to that serotype in future, but a secondary infection with a different serotype can lead to the development of the more serious Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever.
When is Dengue fever the most prevalent in Thailand.
Dengue fever is present all year round and is found in every region of Thailand, but cases of dengue fever are most prevalent in Thailand during the rainy season, which for the vast majority of Thailand runs from May to October.
Dengue Fever Symptoms.
Symptoms of dengue fever usually begin to manifest 3-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito, in some cases it may be up to 2 weeks before symptoms appear. The symptoms of dengue fever may last between one and 2 weeks.
Symptoms include a sudden high temperature, headache and pain behind the eyes, joint and muscle aching, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph nodes, red rash on upper body, sensitive skin, metallic taste in mouth.
Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever and Dengue Shock Syndrome.
Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF) can occur during a first infection with dengue fever, but it is more likely to occur after a second infection by a different serotype to the first infection. DHF could occur several days after the onset of ordinary dengue, symptoms include internal bleeding, bleeding from the nose, bleeding gums, bleeding under the skin. Dengue Shock Syndrome results from excessive fluid loss, this can lead to unconsciousness and death.
Treatment of Dengue Fever.
There is no vaccine or cure for dengue fever, the only form of treatment is rehydration, rest and electrolyte replacement, severe cases may require blood transfusion.
You should consult your doctor or visit a hospital if you suspect you have dengue fever, complications can be serious or even fatal.
The Neighborhood Disease.
The Aedes aegypti (Dengue mosquito) and Aedes albopictus (Asian Tiger mosquito) tend not to travel far from where they hatched, usually travelling no more than 200 meters during their short lifetime. This means that outbreaks of dengue fever are very localized, just a few households in a village may be affected. Although it is limited to small areas dengue fever can quickly spread to many people due to the mosquito’s voracious appetite, the Aedes aegypti often feeds on several people before it has satisfied it’s blood lust, in so doing, an infected mosquito can quickly infect every member of a household. The dengue virus is then spread from village to village and even country to country by the infected human host, the vicious circle continues when the infected traveller is bitten by a mosquito after arriving at a new destination, the now infected mosquito will transmit the dengue fever to anyone it bites.
Avoiding Dengue Fever in Thailand.
One obvious precaution to take when visiting Thailand is to avoid areas affected by Dengue, watch the local news and read local papers for reports of dengue outbreaks. Use mosquito repellent containing DEET, keep covered up as much as you can, use a fan, ensure all your doors and windows are fitted with mosquito screens, don’t leave standing water anywhere, spray the house or hotel room with mosquito spray.
Dengue mosquitoes bite and feed during the day.
Both the Aedes aegypti (Dengue mosquito) and Aedes albopictus (Asian Tiger mosquito) feed throughout the day, peak feeding times are around dusk and dawn, but they will and do feed at any time of day. They prefer indoor, shady habitats, and they will quickly breed in any standing water, including containers, plant pots and tires, it is therefore essential to remove any standing water from the garden, within the house or anywhere in the close proximity of the house.
Dengue Fever Facts.
- Dengue is pronounced den-gee.
- Dengue fever was first described by Benjamin Rush of the U.S.A in 1780.
- Thai translation of dengue fever is “Khai saa”.
- Slaves with dengue fever in the West Indies were said to walk with the posture of a “dandy”, giving rise to the name of “Dandy Fever.”
- The first suspected case of dengue fever dates back to 265-420 AD in China where it was referred to as “water poison” from flying insects.
- The first dengue epidemics occurred in the 1780’s in Asia, Africa and North America.
- The origins of dengue fever are not known, but it is thought to be from Africa or Asia, and has evolved over many centuries.
- There are no vaccines for dengue fever.
- Worldwide, 2.5 percent of people infected with dengue fever die.
- Dengue does not spread from person to person, but it possible to spread via blood transfusion and organ transplants.
- In 1955 dengue fever was only reported present in 3 countries.
- Today dengue is present in more than 120 countries.
- Nearly half the world population is now at risk from dengue fever.
- Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever was first reported present in Thailand in the 1950’s.
- Although there was a reported 74,000 dengue victims in Thailand during 2012, due to mild cases not being reported, the actual cases of dengue fever could be much higher.
Natural Dengue Fever Remedy.
There’s a lot to be said for healthy eating when it comes to fighting mosquito borne diseases, it has even been suggested that certain foods help to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes. natural remedies have now started to come to the fore in the fight against the symptoms of dengue fever, the most popular natural remedy for dengue fever at the moment is papaya leaves, fortunate for dengue sufferers in Thailand as there is an abundance of papaya trees. It has been found that juice from papaya leaves helps to fight the symptoms of dengue fever by increasing blood platelet count. Two tablespoons of papaya juice per day (one tablespoon twice per day) is sufficient to increase the blood platelet count of a dengue fever victim.
Papaya Remedy for Dengue Fever.
- Take 2 papaya leaves or sufficient amount to make 2 tablespoons of juice , clean them, remove any stalks, pound or grind the leaves and squeeze the juice through a filter cloth.
- Don’t add water to the juice.
- Do not boil the juice or the leaves.
- You will have to do this twice per day.
- Another suggestion is to drink a glass of papaya juice once per day.
- More dengue fever remedies at www.naturalhealthstrategies.com
What do dengue mosquitoes look like ?.
The 2 photos below are of the Aedes aegypti (Dengue mosquito) and Aedes albopictus (Asian Tiger mosquito), you need very good eyesight to distinguish what species of mosquito you are looking at, but photos may be a handy reference.