Defeating Dengue: On National Dengue Day Experts Highlight Urgency on Awareness, Prevention, and Timely Intervention

· People with comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, or other chronic conditions are always at a higher risk of developing severe dengue: Expert

Mumbai/New Delhi, May 15, 2023

As India grapples with a surge in dengue cases, experts are rallying together on National Dengue Day (May 16) to raise awareness about the alarming spread of this mosquito-borne disease. With the number of reported cases increasing alarmingly in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Lucknow, and others in the last two months, experts emphasized the need for preventive measures and timely medical intervention to combat the disease effectively.

According to Dr. Rajkumar, Sr. Consultant- Internal Medicine, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, New Delhi, dengue is a mosquito-borne disease and its cases are on the rise because of the recent rainfall in the National Capital Region. Symptoms of dengue fever may include sudden high fever accompanied by severe headaches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, joint and muscle pain, and pain behind the eyes. “We are witnessing a surge in our hospital and last week 5 patients with dengue symptoms visited our OPD and based on their condition we admitted them. Two of them required Intravenous (IV) fluid supplementation, or drip while three were managed with oral fluids and medications. They are recovering well.”

Dengue fever shares many pathogenic and clinical features with the ongoing Covid-19 virus which might make it very difficult to differentiate the two infections. “Prevention is always better than cure so one should take all the precautions to avoid getting infected. It usually takes five to six days for a patient to recover and the two most common complications in dengue that are being seen are low blood pressure and a drop in platelets,” added Dr Rajkumar.

The experts also emphasized the criticality of managing dengue in individuals with comorbidities.

Dr. Ruchita Sharma, Consultant in Internal Medicine at Medanta Lucknow said, “This mosquito-borne disease is a public health hazard and can be life-threatening for people with comorbidities. We have been witnessing several such cases of dengue with comorbidities, and that needs extra efforts on our part to manage the disease. People with comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, or other chronic conditions are always at a higher risk of developing severe dengue.”

Dr. Sharma explained that individuals with comorbidities are more prone to experiencing complications such as organ damage, hemorrhage, or severe plasma leakage. The weakened immune system in these individuals makes it harder for the body to fight off the dengue virus, leading to a more prolonged and severe illness. For patients with pre-existing medical conditions, controlled blood sugar, and blood pressure can fluctuate, requiring close monitoring. In severe cases, hospitalization is necessary for closer monitoring and intensive care.

“On Dengue Day, we need to educate people with comorbidities to take extra precautions to prevent dengue by avoiding mosquito bites and eliminating breeding sites around their homes,” Dr. Sharma added.

National Dengue Day serves as a reminder to the public of the urgent need to address the spread of dengue fever. It highlights the importance of preventive measures, such as mosquito control, and emphasizes the significance of seeking prompt medical attention, especially for individuals with comorbidities.

Like people with comorbidities, children also need to be alert and extra careful against Dengue fever.

Dr. Sonu Udhani, Medical Director at NH SRCC Children’s Hospital Mumbai, stated, “With nearly 1,000 cases registered in Maharashtra in May alone, it’s evident that dengue knows no age boundaries, affecting children and adults alike. Each week, we witness 4-5 cases where children suffer severe complications from this fever, experiencing symptoms like high fever, severe headache, joint and muscle pain, rash, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort. Very few needs hospitalization or intensive care. Platelet and blood transfusions may be rarely required.”

While emphasizing the importance of rest and fluid intake, Dr. Udhani cautioned against the use of medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Instead, he recommended using paracetamol for fever and pain relief. He further added, “Danger signs include severe abdominal pain, dizziness, swelling, persistent vomiting, and any bleeding. Prevention plays a pivotal role. On National Dengue Day, we urge everyone to be mindful of Aedes mosquitoes’ daytime activity, especially during early mornings and late afternoons. Let’s encourage children to stay indoors during these periods, particularly in dengue-prone areas. Together, we can combat dengue and safeguard our young ones.”

By working together and implementing comprehensive strategies, health systems can effectively combat dengue and protect people from this potentially life-threatening disease.

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