Dengue cases are sharply rising across states: Basics Explained

Dengue cases are sharply rising across states in India.


Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease, caused by a virus of the Flaviviridae family, that has rapidly spread in all regions. Dengue virus is transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedes aegypti and, to a lesser extent, Ae. albopictus. These mosquitoes are also vectors of chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika viruses. Dengue is widespread throughout the tropics, with local variations in risk influenced by rainfall, temperature, relative humidity and unplanned rapid urbanization.

Dengue is a severe, flu-like illness that affects infants, young children and adults, but seldom causes death. Dengue should be suspected when a high fever (40°C/104°F) is accompanied by 2 of the following symptoms during the feverish phase:

severe headache; pain behind the eyes; muscle and joint pains; nausea; vomiting; swollen glands and rash. 

Dengue fever can result in a drop in your white blood cell and platelet counts

The normal platelet count in the body ranges from 1.5 to 4 lacs, this can go down to as low as 20,000 to 40,000 in the case of dengue patients. This happens because:

Dengue can damage your bone marrow, the platelet-producing centre of the body; The dengue virus can affect your blood cells and damage your platelets; Dengue can generate antibodies that destroy platelets.

When an infected mosquito bites a human, the dengue virus enters the bloodstream, it binds to platelets and replicates leading to the multiplication of the infectious viruses. The infected platelet cells tend to destroy normal platelets which is one of the major causes of the drop in the platelet count in dengue fever. Meanwhile, disease-fighting cells are our body’s natural defense system against the dengue virus. These cells destroy normal platelets thinking that they are foreign bodies. Also, bone marrow suppression by dengue virus results in reduced platelet count since bone marrow is the center for the production of all blood cells including platelets.

Blood is made up of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, liquid called plasma.

  1. Red blood cells ,also called erythrocytes, which carry oxygen throughout the body, it carry around an important chemical called hemoglobin  that gives blood its red color;
  2. White blood cells, also called leukocytes, which fight infections;
  3. Platelets, thrombocytes, are cells that help you stop bleeding if you get a cut;
  4. Plasma, a yellowish liquid that carries nutrients, hormones, and proteins throughout the body.

Bone marrow — that goopy stuff inside your bones — makes the red blood cells, the white blood cells, and the platelets. Plasma is mostly water, which is absorbed from the intestines from what you drink and eat, with the liver supplying important proteins.

  • Prevention of mosquito breeding:
    • Preventing mosquitoes from accessing egg-laying habitats by environmental management and modification;
    • Disposing of solid waste properly and removing artificial man-made habitats that can hold water;
    • Covering, emptying and cleaning of domestic water storage containers on a weekly basis;
    • Applying appropriate insecticides to water storage outdoor containers;
  • Personal protection from mosquito bites:
    • Using of personal household protection measures, such as window screens, repellents, insecticide treated materials, coils and vaporizers. These measures must be observed during the day both inside and outside of the home (e.g.: at work/school) because the primary mosquito vectors bites throughout the day;
    • Wearing clothing that minimises skin exposure to mosquitoes is advised;


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