August 20th, 2006t
Reports from the wire services seem to say something we have NOT heard pronounced yet in the official circles about an epidemic.- there have been epidemics in the past.
“ Dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF), a potentially lethal complication, was first recognized in the 1950s during the dengue epidemics in the Philippines and Thailand, but today DHF affects most Asian countries and has become a leading cause of hospitalisation and death among children in several of them. “ -WHO
- Dengue haemorrhagic fever: diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control
Information on dengue, including a list of those countries where outbreaks have occurred
People I work with; and those I know have had several cases reported in many schools around metro manila - and elsewhere - some have also had these cases heard of in large numbers in Malabon and Pangasinan yet there seems to be no major effort to raise an alarm.
More so say experts because the best thing here is for people not to panic - Dengue is curable if caught in time - but it is not something to be taken lightly.
While Government seems to be taking the issue as part of the usual season of dengue - it is after all endemic to the country - what is it ? Why is there not so many worries? Well medical reports do clearly show that if tested properly and taken care of at first notice the survival rate is high - with less than 1% resulting in death. But, that is the key- early detection - survival rate is 80 per cent if not taken into consideration and treated at home. the bottom line is those who are more affected are those people who in the danger group.
The world health organization has extensive information on the disease - and also the information that all parents should be aware of or those who have senior citizens in their homes since the two elderly and very young are the most susceptible to the disease.
Dengue fever is a severe, flu-like illness that affects infants, young children and adults, but seldom causes death.
The clinical features of dengue fever vary according to the age of the patient. Infants and young children may have a non-specific febrile illness with rash. Older children and adults may have either a mild febrile syndrome or the classical incapacitating disease with abrupt onset and high fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, and rash.
Dengue haemorrhagic fever is a potentially deadly complication that is characterized by high fever, haemorrhagic phenomena–often with enlargement of the liver–and in severe cases, circulatory failure. The illness commonly begins with a sudden rise in temperature accompanied by facial flush and other non-specific constitutional symptoms of dengue fever. The fever usually continues for two to seven days and can be as high as 40-41°C, possibly with febrile convulsions and haemorrhagic phenomena.
In moderate DHF cases, all signs and symptoms abate after the fever subsides. In severe cases, the patient’s condition may suddenly deteriorate after a few days of fever; the temperature drops, followed by signs of circulatory failure, and the patient may rapidly go into a critical state of shock and die within 12-24 hours, or quickly recover following appropriate volume replacement therapy.
There is no specific treatment for dengue fever. However, careful clinical management by experienced physicians and nurses frequently saves the lives of DHF patients. With appropriate intensive supportive therapy, mortality may be reduced to less than 1%. Maintenance of the circulating fluid volume is the central feature of DHF case management.
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