Many are familiar with Wes Nile disease which can be contracted through mosquito bites. When these perilous insects of summer bite you there are other viruses to worry about. One other condition caused by the bite would be Dengue fever. A group of viruses can enter the body through a mosquito bite and symptoms can appear anywhere from three to fifteen days later. Once infected with the virus the body will build up an immunity to it and that particular strain wont have the same effects twice. Individuals with a low functioning immune system are at the greatest risk for higher severity and longer duration of the disease.
This viral disorder has had recent occurrences in Cuba, South America, the Caribbean, and Puerto Rico. There have been a few isolated cases in the United States around the border of Mexico. It is common for United States citizens to contract the disease when they vacation or travel to any of the areas with prominent outbreaks. In 2009 there was an outbreak in Key West Florida. Only three of the patients hadn’t left the U.S. to get infected. A test was done shortly after the outbreak that stated 55% of Key West inhabitants have already built up an immunity to a strain of the disease. This means that they must have traveled out of the country and contracted the disease and successfully overcome it. It cannot be transferred between two people; It requires a mosquito to bite an infected person and then infect another person.
It only takes one bite to become infected with the virus and there are a wide range of symptoms. Headache, exhaustion, and fever are the first three indicators to present themselves. These are often shrugged off as symptoms from other ailments or an isolated incident. Pain in the muscles and joints, a rash, swollen lymph nodes, and bleeding gums are the more severe symptoms.
The symptoms can begin a few days after becoming infected and can last several weeks. Generally the severity of the symptoms will decrease as the body works to fight off the virus. Higher fevers are generally reported as the body’s sign that it is waging battle against Dengue fever.
Since Dengue fever is caused by a virus, antibiotics are not a helpful treatment method. There is currently not a vaccine to treat the condition because there are many strains that are constantly evolving. Luckily less than 1% of Dengue fever cases result in fatality so the common recommendation is to wait the virus out. Symptoms can be treated individually such as a headache with aspirin. Lots of rest and fluids is recommended as is with any other viral infection.
The New York Times