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Taipei City Hospital


Dengue Fever

       Dengue fever is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes which results in symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle and joint pains. Severe cases of dengue may result in hemorrhagic fever, multiple bleeding sites, shock and death. The key to combating dengue fever is through vector and mosquito control.

        “The infectious agent of dengue fever belongs to the subgenus of dengue fever in the genus Flaviviridae, family Flaviviridae, in which there are 4 types of dengue fever viruses, named type I, II, III and IV based on their antigenicities.” said Dr. Jui-Chuan Chen, a family physician at Taipei City Hospital Zhongxiao Branch. In general, the only route of infection is through the human-mosquito transmission cycle. The virus will proliferate greatly in mosquitoes and transmit to healthy humans in about 8 to 12 days, whereas the incubation period in humans is 3 to 8 days (up to 14 days). The day before the onset up to the fifth day after the onset is called the viremia, and if bitten by mosquitoes during this period, the virus will be transmitted back to the mosquitoes.

       Dr. Chen revealed that there are neither drugs nor vaccines available for effective dengue fever treatment. The current approach is through supportive treatment to supplement water and electrolytes for symptom relief. Therefore, the most effective approach to combat dengue fever is through vector and mosquito control. As the first three out of the four total growth stages of Aedes mosquitoes are in water, the best preventive measure is to clean pooling water. Potential vector breeding sources are: under flowerpots, plastic covering sheets, used tires, basements or parking lots. For personal prevention, protective clothing should be worn while going out, including socks and long sleeve shirts and pants with repellent, while mosquito coils, canned pesticides and mosquito nets should be used in homes.