Docs warn of infections as dengue spreads

City doctors have warned heart patients; children, pregnant women and those suffering from other chronic diseases to be extra careful as they are more likely to contract dengue, the dreaded disease which has once again surfaced in the National Capital Territory of Delhi. So far six confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne disease have been reported from various areas.

Dengue fever is characterized by severe pain in the eyes, head and extremities. It is transmitted by the bite of Aedis Aegypti mosquito. A person develops fever within three to 14 days of being bitten by the mosquito.

Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) is a more severe form of disease, which may cause death. It happens in severe cases when the blood platelet count becomes dangerously low.

Speaking on the effects of dengue on patients suffering from heart disease, Dr Umesh Gupta, senior cardiologist, Umkal Healthcare said “Dengue very rarely affects the heart but if the virus travels to the heart, it may lead to a severe condition called Mycarditis which leads to the swelling of the heart muscles leading to the decrease in the pumping capacity which might lead to strokes. It also causes Pericardial effusion- a condition in which the pericardium layer that surrounds the heart, fills with water.”

This infectious disease is manifested by a sudden onset of fever with severe headache, muscle and joint pains (myalgias and arthralgias- severe pain gives it the name break-bone fever or bone crusher disease) and rashes; the dengue rash is characteristically bright red and usually appears first on the lower limbs and the chest. In some patients, it spreads to cover most of the body. There may also be gastritis with some combination of associated abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

Dengue fever can also cause some complication in case of pregnant women. Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour, infertility specialist and gynaecologist SCI Healthcare, says that “pregnant women should practise extra precaution in case of dengue infection otherwise it could lead to conditions such as pleural effusion (water in the lungs), lung enlargement and complication in labour as in passing meconium in the uterus, reduced fetal movements, high need for caesarean section for delivery , excessive bleeding during the delivery or poor healing of the wound of the cesarean”.

In some rare cases, the onset of dengue fever might be cancerous in nature. Expressing views on this topic of grave concern, Dr Amit Bhargava, consultant oncologist, Max Healthcare, says, “The decrease in the level of blood platelets should be taken very seriously and a Dengue Serology test  should be conducted immediately to check for dengue symptoms and if the test results come negative then an ITP test (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpora Test) should be done to rule out any possibility of blood cancer”.

Dr Sonali Gaur, pediatrician, Umkal Healthcare, Gurgaon, states that “kids below age group of 15 years or so are more prone to this severe infection which can express itself in the form of hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome in severe cases”.

“The Aedis Aegypti mosquito is most active during the daytime and has a short flight span, meaning that people in close vicinity of the infected person are the most likely to get affected by the disease,” adds Dr Gaur.