As a rule, dengue infections are not fatal. However, the risk increases dramatically if you become infected with two different virus types at the same time. Because the dengue virus that triggers the disease comes in different subtypes therefore.
And reinfection with the virus of another subgroup can lead to haemorrhagic dengue fever. In addition to a rapid increase in fever and severe headache, severe bleeding of the internal organs, which can lead to death, occurs here 2 to 6 days after onset of illness. Also, signs of meningitis may occur.
Therapy of dengue fever
Dengue fever can only be treated symptomatically, so only remedies for fever and pain are given. Acetylsalicylic acid is the active ingredient because it supports the increased tendency to bleed, which can occur in this disease. In the case of haemorrhagic dengue fever, the fluid and electrolyte balance must also be compensated.
Anyone who suddenly suffers from the symptoms during a tropical holiday should by no means take an acetylsalicylic acid preparation, but should resort to another antipyretic and pain-relieving agent such as ibuprofen or naproxen. When putting together the first aid kit, this should be taken into account.
Prevention by mosquito repellent
Anyone who has Dengue fever is immune to the subtype of the virus that infected them. However, the presence of the four different subtypes makes re-infection with the original subtype unlikely.
In December 2015, a vaccine against dengue fever was first approved in Mexico, the Philippines and Brazil. However, as there is still no approved vaccine against the virus in Germany, only an intensive mosquito repellent, which includes skin protection products and waterproof clothing, remains for prevention. Even a detailed travel planning, which excludes the rainy season as possible travel time, can reduce the risk of infection.
Dengue facts coming soon
- Pathogen: Flavivirus, four subtypes are known
- Distribution: tropics and subtropics
- Vectors: Daytime and nocturnal mosquitoes, mostly Aedes species
- Incubation period: two to ten days
- Symptoms: fever, body aches, rarely hemorrhages or shock
- Therapy: Symptomatic, no acetylsalicylic acid
- Prophylaxis: protection against mosquitoes day and night. There is no approved vaccination in Germany yet.