W6 Activity: Dengue Fever in India

Dengue fever is a tropical disease transmitted by mosquitoes which causes a high fever, joint and muscle pain, rash, and deadly bleeding and shock in severe cases. While it is rare in the United States, in countries like India, Dengue fever is more common because of the environment. While there are fewer fatalities now than in previous years there are still specific factors that allow the disease to thrive.

High population density leads to lower sanitation levels which facilitates the spread of disease. For example, standing water or waste allows for mosquitoes to multiply and spread Dengue fever. The high population also means that there are long waiting lines for already limited healthcare resources which contributes to higher fatality rates for the disease.

The article I selected describes Dengue fever and how it is distributed across India. Each region has its own unique environment which determines how well mosquitoes thrive but it is the different economic, political, and social systems which determine how the local government is preventing and treating the spread of disease. For example, certain regions have environmental policies which control the amount of mosquitoes by spraying bodies of water with pesticide or building drainage systems. Economic policies also exist which fund health clinics in areas where the ill and impoverished need assistance but cannot pay for the services.

On the social end of the spectrum, certain regions have started educational programs designed to teach local populations about the disease and how to take steps to prevent infection. By imparting some of the responsibility to the locals there has been a notable change in the environment that has impacted the spread of Dengue fever. For example, locals have learned how to remove places for mosquitoes to breed and to put up netting to prevent infection in and around the home.

The article shows how cultural changes can affect how a disease is perceived and, by extension, prevented. Political, economic, and social policies change how a population responds to disease and can greatly decrease infection and fatality rates as seen with my example of Dengue fever in India.

Mohan, Rao. “Dengue fever in India.” The Indian Journal of Pediatrics 54 (1987): 11-14. Accessed June 28, 2015. doi: 10.1007/BF02751227

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