Over the past few weeks there have been wide spread concern about the potential outbreak of Dengue Fever is Port Moresby. There have been newly reported cases within Port Moresby General Hospital, and these cases have been treated with limited fatalities.
Dengue (DENG-gey) fever is a mosquito-borne disease that occurs in tropical and subtropical areas like Papua New Guinea. Mild dengue fever causes high fever, rash, and muscle and joint pain. A severe form of dengue fever, also called dengue hemorrhagic fever, can cause severe bleeding, a sudden drop in blood pressure (shock) and / or death.
Millions of cases of dengue infection occur worldwide each year. Dengue fever is most common in Southeast Asia and the western Pacific islands.
Researchers are working on dengue fever vaccines. For now, the best prevention is to reduce mosquito habitat in areas where dengue fever is common.
There is no vaccine for dengue fever & best prevention is based upon insect avoidance via repellents, nets & insecticides. The mosquito is a daytime biter & the risk is greatest in urban areas, i.e. Port Moresby.
The PMGH CEO, Mr. Grant R. Muddle stated, “Dengue Fever is not something that should create panic or widespread concern in PNG. This disease has been around for many many years and PMGH is well equipped to manage the attending cases. We have admitted 12 cases over the past few weeks, with 2 confirmed deaths’ due to the disease. We have seen an increase in reported cases, however, prevention is the best method to ensure you do not contract Dengue Fever. It is important for people to note that Dengue fever is caused by any one of four dengue viruses spread by mosquitoes that thrive in and near human activity. When a mosquito bites a person infected with a dengue virus, the virus enters the mosquito. When the infected mosquito then bites another person, the virus enters that person's bloodstream. After you've recovered from dengue fever, you have immunity to the virus that infected you — but not to the other three dengue fever viruses. The risk of developing severe dengue fever, also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever, actually increases if you're infected a second, third or fourth time. So it is highly important to take the right precautions and avoid being bitten by mosquito’s.”
Many people, especially children and teens, may experience no signs or symptoms during a mild case of dengue fever. This is often due to their strong immune symptoms.
When symptoms do occur, they usually begin four to 10 days after you have been bitten by an infected mosquito. Signs and symptoms of dengue fever most commonly include:
• Fever, as high as 41 C
• Muscle, bone and joint pain
• Pain behind your eyes
You might also experience:
• Widespread rash
• Nausea and vomiting
• Rarely, minor bleeding from your gums or nose
Most people recover within a week or so of contracting the disease. There is no specific treatment for dengue fever. Your doctor may recommend that you drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration from vomiting and high fever. Paracetamol (Panadol, others) can alleviate pain and reduce fever. Avoid pain relievers that can increase bleeding complications — such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve, others)
If you experience any of these symptoms, please attend to your local urban health clinic for a consultation.