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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Beware of Mosquito-Borne Virus

     Seven years ago, my son had contacted a mosquito-borne viral infection, the dengue virus. Three days of high to low fever, had me suspected of dengue fever. On the fourth day, I have seen that he had bleeding gums, right then I decided to take him  to a hospital since I know how fatal dengue is. It pays to be informed of every diseases that could snatched out the ones we love. Though he survived that fatal disease, it leaves a traumatic experience for him due to intermittent blood extraction to check on his platelets. I have come to know through doctors that there are four (4) strains of dengue infection in which you cannot be immune if you have had the other one. My son had the strain I (DEN-1) and strain IV (DEN-4), meaning he is still not immune to strain II and III.
     After five years, I myself contacted another mosquito-borne viral infection. Fever, headache, massive joint pains which I suspected then as dengue. I am taking chances with my life then before seeking the doctor's help, if my gum bleeds that was it. Joint pains is unbearable for me then because I was not able to walk, so I consulted my doctor and was diagnosed having chikungunya virus. Though this one is not fatal, the extreme pain of the symptoms as well as taking antibiotics was hard for me. 
     The onset of another mosquito-borne virus is in our news nowadays, the zika virus urges me to do some research on four most known mosquito-borne viral infection aside from malaria, the yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya, and zika virus.

Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. 
  • Incubation is 3-6 days. 
  • The 1st acute phase occurs with fever, muscle pain with prominent backache, headache, shivers, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. 
  • The 2nd phase, the more toxic phase, high fever returns and several body systems are affected.
  • Jaundice, abdominal pains, vomiting, bleeding can occur from the mouth, nose, eyes, stomach.
  • Blood also appears in the vomit and feces. Kidney function deteriorates. Patients who enter the toxic phase die within 10 - 14 days. 
  • Vaccines are available. 
  • No specific treatment but can be treated with antibiotics.
Dengue Virus is transmitted by a female mosquito of the species Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. The former is usually widespread in tropical and subtropical countries in Asia while the latter in cooler temperate regions of Europe. 
  • Aedes aegypti is a day mosquito who bites during early in the morning and before dusk in the evening. 
  • Incubation is 4-10 days.
  • A high fever of up to 40°C/104°F, headache, pain behind the eyes and muscle pains, nausea and vomiting, swollen glands, rashes, bleeding gums are the symptoms but not necessarily all of them.
  • Complications which can be deadly are the plasma leaking, organ impairment, severe bleeding, respiratory diseases or fluid accumulation which may occur 3-7 days after the 1st symptoms. 
  • Infected persons are the carriers of the disease. 
  • No specific treatment but maintenance of the patient's body fluid is critical for its treatment.
  • Vaccine is now available 
Chikungunya Virus is also transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes, the most common are the aedes aegypti and aedes albopictus. The name chikungunya is derived from Kimakonde language in Africa, "to become contorted" since patient appears stooped due to joint pains.
  • The virus is transmitted from person to person by an infected female mosquitoes. 
  • Sudden onset of fever accompanied by joint pains are the primary symptoms.
  • Onset of illness occurs 4 to 8 days or 2 to 12 days.
  • Headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, fatigue, rash are the common symptoms.
  • Joint pain can be debilitating and can last for weeks, months, or even years.
  • Symptoms can be the same as in dengue and can be sometimes misdiagnosed in some regions.
  • No specific treatment or cure but treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms.
Zika Virus is transmitted to a person through the bite of an infected mosquito, aedes aegypti, the same mosquito that transmit dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever.
  • incubation period is not clear
  • symptoms include mild fever, rash, conjunctivitis which lasts for 2 to 7 days.
  • some symptoms is similar to other mosquito-borne diseases, muscle and joint pains, malaise, headache.
  • no specific treatment and vaccines available
** Zika Virus  is reportedly associated with birth defect of microcephaly due to an increase in number of babies born with it in  Brazil. Regarding the matter, World Health Organizzation (WHO) just released a news statement associating neurological birth defects to zika virus.

** As we have noticed, the same mosquitoes and symptoms can be observed in all of these diseases. They only differ on the kinds of virus and strain the mosquitoes are carrying and transmitting to humans.

Definition of Terms:
* incubation period - from the time of exposure to the onset of symptoms
* microcephaly - a type of birth or congenital defect wherein the infant's head is significantly smaller due to incomplete brain development.
* plasma leakage - leakage of blood plasma out of the capillaries.


#zikavirus #chikingunya #dengue #yellowfever #aedesaegypti #microcephaly

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I would appreciate comments and links related to my blog post. Feel free ..~ April Brews