Published on February 5, 2014
• Dengue fever is an infectious tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash that is similar to measles. In a small proportion of cases the disease develops into the lifethreatening dengue hemorrhagic fever, resulting in bleeding, low levels of blood platelets and blood plasma leakage.
• Dengue virus is primarily transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, particularly aegypti. These mosquitoes usually live between the latitudes of 35° North and 35° South below an elevation of 1,000 metres They typically bite during the day, particularly in the early morning and in the evening but they are able to bite and thus spread infection at any time of day all during the year Humans are the primary host of the virus.
Transmission • Dengue can also be transmitted via infected blood products and through organ donation. In countries such as Singapore, where dengue is endemic, the risk is estimated to be between 1.6 and 6 per 10,000 transfusions .Vertical transmission (from mother to child) during pregnancy or at birth has been reported. Other person-to-person modes of transmission have also been reported, but are very unusual. The genetic variation in dengue viruses is region specific, suggestive that establishment into new territories is relatively infrequent, despite dengue emerging in new regions in recent decades.
• Dengue is endemic in more than 110 countries. It infects 50 to 390 million people worldwide a year, leading to half a million hospitalizations, and approximately 25,000 deaths. For the decade of the 2000s, 12 countries in Southeast Asia were estimated to have about 3,000,000 infections and 6,000 deaths annually.
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