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How Does Dengue Fever Occur in Children?

Dengue is a viral infection spread by the dengue virus. The dengue virus belongs to the Flavivirus genus and the Flaviviridae family of RNA viruses. Dengue fever is transmitted by arthropods namely mosquitoes and hence is called an arbovirus. Dengue has 5 strains of the virus that one can be infected by. The fifth type was announced in the year 2013.

The virus is usually carried by the Aedes genus of mosquitoes especially by the A. Aegypti. This genus of mosquitoes are mostly likely to bite early in the morning and evenings. Dengue is usually transmitted with a single bite of an infected mosquito, there have however been reported cases of vertical transmission of the virus from pregnant mother to child and through blood and organ donation. The A.Aegypti lives and breeds in close proximity with humans making dengue very rampant. Similar to other mosquito borne diseases, the mosquitoes are usually infected by blood from an infected human, which eventually leads to the mosquitoes getting infected and then infecting other humans.

The virus usually enters the body with the saliva of the infected mosquito when bitten. Once in the body, the virus latches on the white blood cells which travel through the body and multiplies. The white blood cells respond by releasing various proteins to signal and fight off the infection. The symptoms usually set off three to fourteen days after infection. The major symptoms are high fever, muscle and joint pains, rashes, nausea, vomiting and dehydration. Once infected with a strain of dengue, provides life long immunity to the particular strain and short term immunity to the other 4 strains.

Dengue fever in children occurs in children pretty much the same way as it does in adults as mentioned above. However, given a weakly developed immunity based on age and other factors, children are more susceptible to the infection. Dengue in children with underlying conditions may go down hill in a very short span of time.

A novel vaccination is available and administered in a few countries, but no globally approved vaccination is available. Similarly there is no treatment available for dengue. Once diagnosed and confirmed with a proper blood test, the treatment is usually symptomatic i.e medication provided is for management of the symptoms while the infection runs its course.

Dengue fever can cause severe dehydration due to loss of plasma and requires that patients be constantly kept under vigil and hydrated throughout the duration of the infection. The fever and body pains are usually treated with mediation. Lots of rest, fluids, light nutritious meals and medication are recommended for faster recovery. While infected, the patient should be using mosquito protection to prevent further spreading of the infection.

The best ways to prevent occurrence of dengue in children and adults alike, adequate and appropriate mosquito protection should be used at all times. Additionally measures should be taken to prevent and curb breeding of mosquitoes by keeping the vicinity clean of any breeding grounds and regular use of insecticides. Awareness and action are vital in the fight against dengue.

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