Friday, September 16, 2011

Fighting Dengue Fever!

Dengue Fever also known as Breakbone Fever, is an infectious tropical disease caused by the Dengue Virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash that is similar to Measles. In a small proportion of cases the disease develops into the life-threatening Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, resulting in bleeding, low levels of blood platelets and blood plasma leakage, or into dengue shock syndrome, where dangerously low blood pressure occurs.

Dengue is transmitted by several species of mosquito within the genus Aedes, principally A. Aegypti. The virus has four different types; infection with one type usually gives lifelong immunity to that type, but only short-term immunity to the others. Subsequent infection with a different type increases the risk of severe complications.

There are no approved vaccines for the dengue virus. Prevention thus depends on control of and protection from the bites of the mosquito that transmits it.

The primary method of controlling A. Aegypti is by eliminating its habitats. This is done by  or by adding insecticides or biological control agents to these areas, although spraying with organophosphate or pyrethroid insecticides is not thought to be effective. However, Aerial Spray over the effected town or region could be very effective.

Keeping the environment clean is thought to be the best way to control and eliminate the Dengue mosquito's habitat, i.e. following the Islamic pratices of Tahara (Cleanliness).

Reducing open collections of water through environmental modification is the preferred method of control, given the concerns of negative health effect from insecticides and greater logistical difficulties with control agents. Using mosquito netting while resting, and/or the application of insect repellent (DEET being the most effective). 

Women can prevent Dengue mosquito bites by wearing clothing that fully covers the skin, i.e. by following the Islamic practices of Hijab.

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