A new research from China has given hope for completely annihilating mosquitoes responsible for diseases like dengue fever and Zika, according to the latest media reports. The research was carried out on Asian tiger mosquitoes which are responsible for spreading dengue fever, Zika and other diseases. Dengue, the mosquito-borne arboviral diseases, is of huge concern, especially during the monsoon. The dengue virus is transmitted by the bite of the infected Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquito. Dr Mala Kaneria, Consultant Infectious Specialist at Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre talks to us about how to treat dengue.

Treatment of dengue

Dengue is not contagious and does not spread from person to person. However, febrile patients must protect themselves from mosquito bites as the mosquito can ingest the virus from the patient and become infective to the next victim. Bleeding in dengue patients is multifactorial and low platelet count is just one of the causes. Active bleeding due to thrombocytopenia occurs only when the platelet count is less than 10,000/cm (Normal range 1.5 to 4 lakhs/cm). So a low platelet count should not cause a panic situation, especially if more than 1 lakh/cm. Unnecessary platelet transfusion has its own hazards and creates a shortage of deserving patients.

Dengue can be prevented by averting mosquito breeding in and around the house, by regularly emptying water-filled containers and avoiding mosquito bites by using mosquito repellants and coils, especially when febrile. Fevers in monsoons should not be taken lightly and when warning signs are visible, a visit to the physician is important, for hospitalization if necessary. There is no antiviral medicine or vaccine available for dengue as of now.

Most of the patients will respond to simple measures like plenty of oral fluids and paracetamol for the fever. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, diclofenac, etc should be avoided, as they contribute to the thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) seen in these patients. Hydration is a very important mode of therapy, as these patients suffer from capillary leakage which causes haemoconcentration.