The year’s rainy season has witnessed a spike in dengue fever with BIMC Hospitals Bali receiving more cases than previous years. Know the facts and keep safe.
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus, transmitted through the Aedes Aegypti mosquito characterized by white dots on its abdomen and legs. It is active during the day breeding in puddles of clear water.
“It is very much apparent that in 2015 we have seen an increase in dengue fever cases at BIMC Nusa Dua,” said Dr. Eva Fauziah, Medical Director of BIMC Hospital Nusa Dua.” In 2014 we had a total of 54 cases and in the first quarter of 2015 alone we had seen 52 cases.”
Dengue is quite common in tropical regions such as Bali heightened during the rainy season that runs from October to April. We advise for anyone with a fever of more than three days to seek medical consultation and test for the virus.
Other than fever, symptoms may include headaches, muscle and joint aches, diarrhea and skin rash and most severe for the first five days. Headaches are characterized with frontal throbbing around the eyes with non-specific muscle and joint aches and diarrhea. The skin rash usually develops on or about day five, at the same time when the antibody starts to develop.
Doctors diagnose dengue fever through symptoms and travel history. Symptoms are not always straightforward especially if you are taking panadol, ibuprofen, or steroids, which can mask the fever. Your BIMC doctor will probably also order a blood test.
Treatment of dengue fever requires a conservative approach, essentially plenty of fluid intake, either drinking or intravenous. During treatment your blood needs to be monitored for signs of low platelets and increasing concentration of red cells. When there are signs of bleeding, especially if associated with very low platelets, your doctor might need to give you a blood transfusion.
Most people can be treated at home providing they can eat and drink properly and stay well hydrated with no signs of spontaneous bleeding. Those who are tasked with poor oral intake, are very weak, and cannot manage themselves at home, will require hospitalization for IV re-hydration and regular blood monitoring.
Those who have contracted dengue fever will typically suffer with fever for five days. By day six, the symptoms should begin to resolve and one will begin to slowly feel better. The blood test however will get worse by the fourth day with the lowest platelet count around day seven, then it will go up once again. By the 10th day, the disease will have resolved. Note: the course of the disease varies from person-to-person.
There is no prophylaxis medication or vaccine against the disease. There are however preventive measures for dengue such as keeping your household dry of still water especially in the bathroom and outside yard areas. If you have consistent flood pools of water in your yard, keep windows and sliding doors closed for most of the day and night. Remember to apply mosquito repellent, use bed netting, mosquito spray and anti-mosquito incense.
Unfortunately having had dengue in the past does not mean you are immune to the disease. There are numerous strains of dengue therefore it is best to err on the side of caution and be mindful during the rainy season with the preventative measures outlined in this article.
Air travel depends on your general condition and the results of your blood tests though we do not recommended to fly if your condition is weak and you cannot manage yourself. If your blood tests reveal a very low platelet count it is best not to travel, as there is a risk of spontaneous bleeding.
You should see a BIMC doctor if you have the symptoms mentioned especially if you have fever for more than three days. Seek our medical consultation and get your blood tested. First blood tests may not reveal that you have dengue and if symptoms do not dissipate, we may recommend a follow-up blood test 24-48 hours later.