The nation is gearing up to fight the outbreak of the deadly dengue fever. This dreaded disease has even claimed a few lives in PNG.
As per the internal records of Pacific International Hospital, there has been a sudden upsurge in the number of Dengue cases coming to them. From a single digit case in January to almost a 500% and later a 678% increase in the number of patients diagnosed with this disease have been recorded. And consequently, the number of patients recorded positive against the number of patients tested (which has also seen a rapid upward trend) has increased.
This has lead to an internal mobilization within PIH for disseminating awareness about Dengue and they have reached out to the media houses to aid them in informing the general public about this disease and the basic steps that can help in thwarting this dreadful ailment.
The health officials are seeing the sharp rise in cases of dengue fever as a serious threat. According to WHO; Dengue incidence has increased 30-fold during the past 50 years.
The current dengue epidemic in PNG can be traced back to poor mosquito control and rapid urbanization. To help cope with this increasing threat, government’s intervention is very crucial. There is an unspoken urgency for developing programs to cope with the situation that emphasizes disease prevention and mosquito control measures. The comprehensive strategy should cover key areas like: eradicating all larval habitats, improving environmental sanitation and effectively controlling mosquitoes’ population in the community.
Ultimately, the control program can only be successful when government plays the principal role in prevention and control of epidemic dengue and DHF (Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever) and is proactively aided by the community. A very crucial step in this fight against dengue is awareness of the citizen to aid the government is defeating this menace.
Prevention and Control Options
As per CDC Prevention Guidelines Database the government can include five components:
- Proactive Surveillance;
- Rapid-response Emergency Vector Control;
- Long-term, integrated community-based mosquito control;
- Education of the Medical Community;
- Emergency Hospitalization Plan.
The options available for prevention and control of epidemic dengue can include the following:
- Aedesaegypti eradication,
- Ultra-low volume (ULV) insecticide application,
- Preventive measures keyed to improved surveillance,
- Routine mosquito control efforts and
- Continued spraying of insecticides.
However, ultimately success of the program will depend on community participation and cooperation by citizens as most transmission occurs in the home. Therefore, considerable effort should be placed on community education.If dengue fever is recognised early, it can be effectively treated and most deaths can be prevented.
Know all about Dengue
What is Dengue fever?
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease caused by the virus named dengue. The disease can manifest suddenly as fever and headache. Dengue needs immediate medical attention.
Female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedesaegypti transmit the virus. There are 4 serotypes of the virus that causes dengue and these are commonly called as DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4.Dengue fever is also known as “break bone” fever because of the sever muscle and joint pain.
A small percentage of individuals who have dengue fever can develop a more serious form of disease known as dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) that is characterized by bleeding from nose, gums and even skin along with high fever.
Dengue hemorrhagic fever can trigger dengue shock syndrome. and can lead to excessive bleeding and even death.
Places with high risk of dengue
Dengue is normally found in tropical and sub-tropical climates around the world, most commonly in urban and semi-urban areas. The epidemic outbreak can occur anytime, as long as the mosquito is active. Conditions like high humidity and temperature favours mosquito survival.
The virus is transmitted to human through the bites of infected female mosquitoes.
Aedesaegypti mosquito (also called tiger mosquito due to presence of characteristic stripes on their body) is the primary vector for the disease. These species of mosquito are day biters and breeds in clean water mostly in household pots, broken coconut shells and open overhead tanks.
Symptoms usually appear 3-14 days after the infected mosquito bite.
Severe flu-like symptoms
- High fever (40°C/104°F) accompanied by a severe headache
- Severe body aches and joints pain.
- Rash and swollen glands
- Pain behind the eyes
- Abdominal pain and vomiting
Rush to hospital if you have symptoms like:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Persistent vomiting
- Bleeding from gums, nose or even bleeding spots on the skin.
- Rapid breathing
- Excessive tiredness and drowsiness
There is no vaccine for dengue fever. The only way to prevent infection is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Seek medical attention.
Take rest and drink plenty of fruit juices and avoid medicines like aspirin and ibuprofen as that can lead to more bleeding.
Measures for Prevention
Preventive measures are very important and crucial in stopping dengue spread.
Aedes mosquito usually breeds in freshwater collections in artificial containers especially in plastic cups, flowerpots, broken bottles, overhead tanks that are not properly sealed.
- Drain and remove water from artificial containers, flower vases regularly
- Discard the items like bottles, tins and rubber tyres which collects rainwater and stored for long duration
- Sleep under mosquito nets and use repellents even in daytime
- Clean and keep covered domestic water storage containers
- Spray insecticides in mosquito bread areas
- Use window screens, coils, vaporisers and insecticide-treated materials
- Dispose of solid waste properly and remove artificial man-made habitats
- Apply appropriate insecticides to outdoor water storage containers
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved clothing
- Don’t ignore any fever; get medical advice at the earliest.