HOUSE OF THE WEEKmore
Dengue fever arrives with rainy season
June 21 - 27, 2010
BEWARE the dengue fever season, Yangon doctors are warning. During May, 400 children were admitted to Yangon Children’s Hospital (YCH) with the virus and one child died, a specialist at the hospital said last week.
Dr Aung Tun Oo, consultant paediatrician at YCH, said parents should be particularly alert to the danger of dengue with the onset of the rainy season.
“Since [disease transmitting organisms] like flies and mosquitoes breed more in this season, there is an increased risk of dengue and diarrhoea,” he said.
“Dengue fever is commonly found in children under 15, but older people can also suffer from it.”
He said dengue was transmitted to humans by the bite of an Aedes mosquito that is infected with the virus.
Dr Aung Tun Oo added that children can also suffer dengue hemorrhagic fever, a more severe form of the disease that can be fatal if not promptly identified and treated.
The symptoms of dengue are high fever, severe headache, intense pain behind the eyes, joint pain, muscle and bone pain, rash, mild bleeding from the nose or gums and easy bruising.
Dengue hemorrhagic fever symptoms include a fever that lasts from two to seven days and persistent vomiting, severe abdominal pain, and difficulty in breathing.
“If your child suffers from those symptoms during the rainy season, go to the doctor at once,” Dr Aung Tun Oo said.
He warned that the disease can strike more than once and is usually more dangerous the second time around.
“Some parents think that if their child has suffered from dengue once it cannot recur. This is a mistake. The dengue virus has four strains, and it can recur. The second time is more severe and can be fatal.”
Dr Aung Tun Oo said dengue patients were not active, and slept a great deal. He also warned against some parents’ practice of bleeding a patient because dirty needles can lead to infections.