Thursday, February 14, 2013

Dengue Fever: New Outbreak around our neighbourhood

One of our patients living in block 867 has just been confirmed to have Dengue fever.  We would like to remind all our patients to take extra precaution.  The dengue mosquito likes to bite 2 hours after sunrise and at dusk and they like to bite indoors.  So do take the necessary measures to protect yourself and your family.

If you have a high fever and severe bodyache, please seek medical advise. We are now able to do a blood test that can detect Dengue from the first day of the fever if necessary.

Characteristics of Dengue Fever:
  • Fever that lasts for 2 to 7 days
  • Severe muscle ache, headache and joint pains
  • Rash appearing after the fever subsides usually after the 5th day. The rash may look like a measles types rash. There may also be some pin point red spots known as petechiae that may appear.
  • Abdominal discomfort
Sometimes the Dengue Fever causes the platelet levels (component of the blood responsible for clotting) to drop dramatically. When the platelet levels are low, the body loses its ability to repair any bleeding blood vessels. This might result in uncontrolled bleeding in the body which is the condition known as Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever. (Haemarrhage means to bleed) Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever is the main cause of death when the patient contracts Dengue.

What happens when you are diagnosed with Dengue?
  • If you have a fever for 5 days and the blood test reveal that your platelets have dropped to less than 150.000 you will need to do daily blood tests to monitor your platelet levels.
  • If your platelets continue to fall below 80,000, you may need to be admitted to hospital
  • Most patients will not need admission. Dengue can be managed at home with daily visits to the clinic.
What you should do when you are diagnosed with Dengue.
  • Make sure you get your blood checked daily
  • There are no antibiotics that can be given with Dengue. It is mainly bed rest and fluids until the patient recovers.
  • If the platelets are low, you should avoid any vigorous exercise or situations that may cause an injury.
  • Check around your home for possible mosquito breeding sites and eliminate them
  • Although you cannot infect another person directly, it is possible that a mosquito that bites you can in turn bite another person and transmit the disease that way. So it is important to make sure you do not give mosquitos a chance to bite you.

Dengue can be a deadly disease. It is important to recognize the symptoms of Dengue so that you can present yourself for a blood test. The most important way to to avoid contracting Dengue is to ensure that you don't get bitten by mosquitoes by taking the usual precautions.

More info on Dengue from MOH can be found here