Understanding Dengue and Implications for Prevention
Dengue is an acute viral infection with potential fatal complications transmitted mainly by Aedes aegypti mosquito and also by Ae. albopictus. Dengue viruses (DV) belong to family Flaviviridae and there are four serotypes of the virus referred to as DV-1, DV-2, DV-3 and DV-4. They are transmitted to humans through bites of the infected female Aedes mosquito and the dengue virus circulates in the blood of the infected humans for 3-14 days. Symptoms include severe joint and muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes, headache, fever, exhaustion and rash. The mechanisms that have been considered to cause dengue fever include antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). Various cytokines have been implicated in the immune pathogenesis of DF/DHF. Molecular methods (reverse transcriptase PCR) are being increasingly used in diagnosis of DV infection. There are no approved vaccines for the dengue virus. Prevention thus depends on control, and protection from the bites of the mosquito that transmits it. It depends on controlling the mosquito vector, A. aegvpti, in and around the home, where most of the transmission occurs. As specific dengue therapeutics are not available and disease prevention is limited to vector control measures, the development of a dengue vaccine would represent a major advance in the control of the disease.