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Dengue Fever Reaching Pandemic Proportions

Posted on January 17 2013

Malaria was once the fastest-spreading tropical disease in the world and continues to pose extreme risk to populations. However, malaria has been replaced by a new, dangerous tropical disease; Dengue fever. Dengue fever has now spread to every continent and has infected around 50 million people. It actually has a significantly higher presence throughout the world in comparison to malaria. Due to the virus’ ability to spread quickly and its easy transmission by mosquito, dengue has the ability to create a worldwide pandemic. Dengue fever is spread through the bite of female mosquitoes that are easily brought into countries through trade ports. Mosquitoes and their eggs are easily transported through ornamental bamboo plants and second-hand tires, allowing them to silently infest any continent or country they dock in. Experts say that the aedes mosquito (the pest dengue fever is carried by) is now living in more than 150 countries, giving it global reach to spread the virus. Dengue fever symptoms are similar to that of the flu and generally subside in a few days. Many people who contract the virus may actually feel like they have a seasonal flu. However, the most severe form of dengue can create the need for hospitalization for complications, which can include severe, lethal bleeding. Currently, there are no real treatments for dengue fever and vaccines are still in the research and development stage. However, health experts say that easy diagnosis offers the best course of treatment, allowing for proper medical care and helping to reduce the fatality rate by 1%. With currently no effective vaccines or treatments, dengue fever could possibly reach pandemic levels in our lifetime, if not in the next few decades. Take precautions similar to the kinds that are taken to prevent malaria and other mosquito spread viruses including leave no standing water, use bug repellent, and if mosquito season is bad this summer try some bug net hats and long clothing. Sources: Reuters - http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/16/us-tropical-idUSBRE90F0J520130116 Medical Xpress - http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-01-dengue-global-epidemic-potential.html FOX News - Health - http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/01/16/dengue-is-fastest-spreading-tropical-disease-who-says/

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