• Rukmani Birla Hospital,Gopalpura Bypass Road, Near Triveni Bridge,Gopalpura,Jaipur – 302018.

UNDERSTAND DENGUE VIRUS INFECTION OF BLOOD

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease that is transmitted by the bite of a species of mosquito known as the Aedes mosquito. Upon being bitten by the Aedes mosquito, which is the carrier of the dengue virus, the virus circulates in the blood of an infected person for approximately 2-7 days before symptoms tend to show up. Dengue virus is an infection of the blood caused by Aedes mosquitoes that breed inside or outside the house in containers holding water; these mosquitoes do not have a long-life span and cannot fly more than 200 metres away from their place of origin. The mosquitoes are very active during the early morning and evening, though they are likely to bite during any time of the day.

As of today, dengue is a widespread disease with no specific cure but easily treatable symptoms, provided the infection in the blood caused by the dengue virus is diagnosed timely. Though generally not life-threatening, dengue can cause serious complications and even death in rare cases, where the diagnosis and treatment are delayed or the severity of infection in the blood caused by the virus is uncontrollable.

What causes dengue virus infection of blood?

The dengue virus is spread by four closely related viruses known as DENV, spread through a special breed of mosquitoes known as the Aedes mosquito. The virus is transmitted into the human upon the bite of an Aedes mosquito that leaves the virus in the person, thereby infecting the human blood. Thereafter, the cycle continues through normal mosquitoes, which bite an infected human and become the carriers of the dengue virus. 

What are the symptoms of dengue virus infection of blood?

Dengue fever can cause serious health complications and in severe cases can be fatal, if not detected and treated on time. Some common symptoms that can help detect the dengue fever are:

  • Unexplained, sudden high fever
  • Severe headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Rash on the skin
  • Rashes on the eyes
  • Severe weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Acute bone, joint and muscle pain
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Mild bleeding
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Swollen glands

Often times, the symptoms are mild and hence are considered to be those of normal flu or an infection. However, severe dengue symptoms might tend to appear post 6-7 days of the bite of the infected mosquito. In most cases, recovery from dengue happens within a week but for cases that record severe infection of blood and complications – such as leakage or damage of blood vessels, as well as dropping of platelets below the required count – might undergo some struggle to survive, since a severe infection of blood with dengue virus tends to become life-threatening. These severe cases of dengue virus infection of blood are known as dengue shock syndrome and must be treated immediately to minimize complications and increase chances of survival.

Certain symptoms, which when noted, indicate the need for immediate medical help are:

  • Intense abdominal pain
  • Consistent nausea and vomiting
  • Bleeding from gums, nose, or under the skin
  • Blood in urine or vomit
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pacing heartbeats
  • Ice cold skin
  • Unexplained restlessness

Moreover, it is possible that a person who has contacted dengue virus before to be infected with the virus again, since it is a group of four closely related viruses called DENV. Though one virus can only affect a person once in a lifetime, the other viruses can likely infect the blood of a person who has already been infected before with another virus of the family. These cases are called secondary infections and often result in severe complications than primary infections.

What are the treatment options for dengue virus infection of blood?

There is no specific vaccination or particular medicine that can directly cure dengue. However, it aims to control and treat symptoms which ultimately remove the infection from the blood. Also, the treatment of symptoms is also dependent on the severity of the virus infecting the blood. In case the symptoms are mild, pain killers that have acetaminophen or paracetamol components are recommended, and any aspirin-containing medicines are instructed to be avoided. Moreover, rest and increased intake of fluids are recommended to fight the virus temporarily. However, to know the intensity of the symptoms, an assessment for the doctor is necessary.

How can dengue virus infection of blood be prevented?

The dengue virus is spread by the bite of the Aedes mosquito; hence, the best course of preventing the dengue virus infection of blood is to prevent the mosquito bite by taking some steps such as below:

  • Get rid of any containers placed under the air conditioners or coolers
  • Do not store water in containers – inside or outside – and leave them open
  • Maintain distance from anything that has stored clear stagnant water
  • Change the feeding bowls for pets
  • Pour fresh water in flower vases every day
  • Remove any excess water in flower pots or plates
  • Check your water tanks for proper seal
  • Use mosquito repellents and mosquito nets all the time
  • Wear fully covered clothes
  • Use air conditioners to keep mosquitoes away
  • Keep all windows and doors closed
  • Do not apply strong perfumes or soaps, since smell attracts mosquitoes
  • Do not walk outside at dawn or dusk
  • Do not take shelter under the trees at dawn or dusk

Moreover, if anyone known has contacted the virus, it is best to stop the virus from spreading further to other people by restricting any more mosquitoes to bite the already infected person. 

What could be the possible complications from dengue virus infection of blood?

The dengue virus is usually not life-threatening; however, in cases where the infection of the blood is severe, or it is a second-time infection, or even in cases where medical treatment is delayed, dengue virus can cause damage to the heart, lungs and liver. It can lead to the blood pressure dropping too low, causing shock and death in rare cases.

What vaccinations can be taken to prevent dengue virus infection of blood?

Currently, there are no particular vaccinations to prevent the dengue virus from infected the blood of the humans; however, trials are on to find a cure soon.

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