National Dengue Day, celebrated on May 16 every year, is a new initiative by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to raise awareness about dengue fever in India. A number of celebrations are held on this occasion, where the symptoms and signs of dengue fever, the effective measures to prevent the disease and the government’s plan and preparedness to control its spread before the start of the transmission season, are discussed and disseminated.
The World Health Organization (WHO) paints an alarming picture in this regard, saying that the incidence of dengue fever has increased exponentially around the world and that around half of the world’s population is at risk. The organization also estimates 100 to 400 million cases of infections each year worldwide. In India too, dengue occurs mostly in the rainy season, causing upheaval in the social sector.
Haryana, Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir have been infected with this disease. In 2017, the maximum number of dengue fever cases were reported in Tamil Nadu, followed by Kerala, Karnataka, Punjab, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Haryana, from Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Delhi and other states.
The central government has continuously taken a number of measures to prevent this disease. Free diagnostic facilities across 713 Sentinel Surveillance Hospitals (SSH) and 17 Apex Reference Laboratories (ARL) identified across the country, are fully functional for this purpose. The Center reviewed dengue prevention and control preparedness well in advance on February 2, 2022, and multi-disciplinary core teams were delegated to states for technical support. Under the National Health Mission, necessary and sufficient budget support is also provided to States/UTs for dengue control activities
To make every effort to avoid any further upsurge, state authorities are advised to focus on a number of things like- ensuring proper COVID behavior compliance and observance of COVID-safe festivities, implement intensive containment and active surveillance in clusters reporting high levels of cases and not delay imposition of restrictions, increased testing while maintaining RT-PCR report, rapid commissioning of PSA plants, bottles oxygen, concentrators and ventilators, regular reviews for priority implementation of ECRP-II to ensure readiness with sufficient margin, monitoring the spread of infections in children considering that few states have opened schools, tracking mutations including sending sufficient samples for genome sequencing.
Dengue fever is a viral disease caused by the dengue virus and is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes aegypti mosquito infected with one of the four dengue viruses. The Aedes aegepti mosquito bites during the day. Normally, a person develops symptoms 3 to 14 days after the infectious bite. Patients already infected with dengue virus can transmit the infection to others via Aedes mosquitoes for 4-5 days after the onset of symptoms and its prevention and control depends on effective vector control measures. Dengue begins with a sudden fever, followed by severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, and a rash. Dengue hemorrhagic fever is characterized by an acute onset of fever followed by abdominal pain, vomiting and bleeding. A small proportion of cases may show a fatal disease like dengue shock syndrome.
There are no specific antiviral drugs for dengue fever. Early clinical diagnosis by a physician and appropriate clinical management lower mortality rates below 1%. The use of analgesics/analgesics with paracetamol, encouraging the patient to drink plenty of fluids and rest is important.
However, precautions are considered the best measures to propagate its spread. Water from coolers and other small containers such as plastic containers, buckets, used automobile tires, water coolers, pet waterers and flower vases, should be removed at least once per week.
Additionally, appropriate larvicides should be used to spray storage containers that cannot be emptied. Water storage containers should be kept covered with a lid. The aerosol can be used during the day to prevent mosquito bites. During the transmission season (mainly the rainy season), everyone can wear clothes that cover their arms and legs. Mosquito nets or mosquito repellents can be used while sleeping during the day. Personal protective measures such as mosquito nets, insecticide-treated mosquito nets, coils and sprays can be used to prevent mosquito bites.