W6 Activity: Dengue Fever in India

The global health problem I decided to research this week was Dengue Fever.  While found in most tropical areas around the world, in India, the outbreak of Dengue Fever has been higher in the past few years than it has been in the last century.  The symptoms of dengue fever include the sudden onset of fever, severe headaches, fatigue, rashes on the skin, mild bleeding, and vomiting.  Dengue Fever cannot be spread from person to person, but an individual is infected when they are bitten by a female mosquito.  Mosquitoes are infected when they take the blood of an infected person.  The Dengue virus is the same as the virus that causes West Nile disease.  Dengue Fever spreads easily in areas like India because of the environment and how people live.  India can be quite humid, and there are large areas of stagnant water.  These factors provide a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.  People in India tend to live close together either in large cities or in small villages.  Unlike America, there are not too many rural standalone homes.  People in India also tend to keep windows and doors open to catch the breeze instead of relying on A.C., as there are often scheduled periods of the day when the current is cut, as well as unscheduled periods.  Dengue is able to spread quickly as more and more people are infected, so are more and more mosquitoes.

The Indian government has been having a hard time addressing Dengue Fever.  Since Dengue Fever is a viral infection, there are no medications for it, and often the only medication that can be taken do not contain aspirin and are used to manage pain.  Also, since there is not yet a vaccine for Dengue Fever, the only preventative measures are to try not to get bitten.  This could be by using insect repellents, wearing long clothing, dump out containers that may contain stagnant water, use bed nets, and use chemicals and insecticides in large bodies of stagnant water.

In the article I read, an anthropologist and a scientists were trying to find the ecological and human impact of Dengue Fever.  The data was collected from 1550 patients in 2003, and their blood was tested to see if they had dengue.  The authors were trying to draw a connection between climactic factors, such as rainfall, temperature, and relative humidity, with the increase in the cases of Dengue Fever in humans.  They found that climactic factors did correlate with the increase in cases of Dengue Fever; which means there will continue to be a steady rise in the number of Dengue Fever outbreaks as the global temperature continues to rise.

 

Chakravarti, Anita, and Rajni Kumaria. “Eco-epidemiological analysis of dengue infection during an outbreak of dengue fever, India.” Virology journal 2, no. 1 (2005): 1.

 

http://virologyj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1743-422X-2-32

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