|Aedes aegeypti mosquito|
People across Pakistan and specially Punjab are under attack not by terrorists but by mosquitos infected with dengue virus. More than 7000 people have been effect in Lahore, the capital of Punjab, a city with a population of 6 Million. Death toll is rising on a daily basis, government estimates the deaths at 50 only in the city of lahore, and on daily basis more than 300 new patients are identified with the potentially deadly virus. Lahories are not alone in this, the killer virus has spread throughout Punjab. One of the biggest reason behind this is the lack of sanitation and drainage, garbage is dumped on the streets and there is almost no garbage collection by the local authorities. Open sewers and water holes provide ideal breeding grounds for these mosquitos. 3 years ago in 2008 there had been a similar out break but it was less lethal and spread out. This time around the things are different almost every major city of punjab has thousands of people who have been effected. In Lahore specifically hospitals are running out of beds and their machines which are used to test patient’s blood sample for the presence of dengue virus can’t handle the strain of running 24/7 and usually break down, one of the doctors explained ” These machines are not designed to run 24/7, we have to manage the load, so we turn one machine off after a certain amount of time and use the others”. Government is also taking steps, teams have been made to spray each and every city and council in Punjab, specialists have been brought in from Sri Lanka who have suggested many ways that the government could take to curb this outbreak, one of them is to introduce “guppy fish” which eats the larve of the mosquitos which carry dengue virus. This can be very useful.
Government though can’t do it all alone. People will have to step up as well, it is recommended that just before the sun set and sun rise all the windows should be closed, people should use mosquito repellants which are easily available at your local corner shop, there are odder less lotions that one can use when they go to sleep.
When some one is first bitten by a mosquito which is infected by dengue it feels like any other bite. But it does not take long before the virus take hold of the person. The incubation period of the virus is 3- 15 days before the appearance of the signs. Dengue fever is one of the deadliest diseases if not treated at an early stage. The onset of this illness is abrupt. The early symptoms of dengue are headache, fever, vomiting, severe muscle and joint pain, exhaustion, rashes, and swollen lymph nodes. The very hallmark signs of dengue are termed as the “dengue triad” – high grade fever (39.5-41.4°C), rashes which is medically termed as petichiae (visible reddish or purplish dots under the skin), and headaches or other pains. Bleeding gums, red palms and soles, red lips, pain behind the eyes, with relative low heart rate bradycardia and low blood pressure(hypotension) are also some other signs of dengue.
The severe form of this illness is Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever. This form manifests any evidence of hemorrhage in the body such as bleeding in the nose (epistaxis) or gums, choco-colored or black stools or vomits, easy bruising, severe abdominal pain and petechiae. If these symptoms of dengue are already observed, it is usually at the late stage and if still untreated can be life-threatening and can progress to the most severe form –dengue shock syndrome.
Fever and the other signs indications of dengue last for 2- 4 days, then there would be a quick drop in the body temperature (defervescence) accompanied with profuse sweating. The victim may feel a sense of well-being a day after then another abrupt rise in the temperature. The rashes may then appear along with the more serious manifestations of dengue.
As soon as any one feels sick and has early symptoms of dengue then they should not waste any time and they should get medical attention immediately. If a person who has been infected with dengue gets re-infected then the chances of developing more serious form of dengue increase tenfold.