Squash that Mosquito
Once again, India is struggling to contain the outbreak of dengue fever. More than 17,000 cases have been reported across the country and some 100 people have lost lives to dengue this year, including iconic Bollywood film producer Yash Chopra.
What is dengue: It is a tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a skin rash similar to measles. It can develop into the life-threatening dengue haemorrhagic fever, which leads to bleeding and low levels of blood platelets.
How it spreads: Dengue is transmitted by several species of the Aedes mosquito. The virus has four different strains. Once infected, a person becomes immune to subsequent infection - but only to that particular strain of virus. He can still contract dengue infection from a different strain, which then leads to severe complications.
Treatment: There is no vaccine to fight the disease. Killing mosquitoes, destroying their habitat, and limiting human exposure to bites are the only ways to prevent its spread. Mild or moderate cases can be treated through oral or intravenous rehydration. In severe cases, blood transfusion is required along with intravenous fluids.
History: Dengue has become a global menace since World War II and is endemic in more than 110 countries. Its incidence has increased dramatically since the 1960s, with around 50 to 100 million people infected yearly. In India, the worst affected states are Tamil Nadu, followed by Kerala and Karnataka