What is Dengue Fever?
- Dengue viruses are spread to people through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito.
- There are 4 different serotypes of dengue viruses, so technically you can catch the dengue viruses 4 times in your lifespan.
- The incubation period is about 4 - 7 days.
Symptoms of Dengue fever
- 2 - 7 days of fever
- Headache with pain behind the eyes
- Aches and pains (muscle, joint, or bone pain)
- Skin rash
- Nausea and vomitting, with abdominal pain
- Bleeding manifestations, eg. nose or gum bleed
In the first 5 months of 2020, Singapore has seen over 8000 dengue cases and 12 deaths associated with dengue infection.
The number of dengue cases this year is expected to exceed that of 2019, and may be larger than the 2013 dengue outbreak, when a historical high of 22,170 dengue cases were reported.
Dengue & COVID-19
Dengue fever and COVID-19 infections share many common clinical and laboratory features. Both of them can cause:
- Pain in the body
- Reduced platelet count to varying severity
- Mild liver inflammation
Hence in the initial stages of the fever, it may be very hard to differentiate them. In fact, there were even reports of Dengue fever and COVID-19 occuring at the same time!
Dengue is dangerous!
Dengue fever may progress to Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever or Dengue Shock Syndrome.
These are severe forms of infection that can result in death. Their symptoms include:
- Severe bleeding from internal organs, gums and the nose
- Leakage of plasma from the blood vessels resulting in drop in blood pressure
Please seek medical consultation from your trusted doctor if you are suffering from a fever, with headache or aches and pain in the body to rule out COVID-19 and Dengue. Do not ignore your symptoms.
By : Dr Chen Yiming
Family Physician, MBBS (Singapore), GDFM (NUS), GDFP Dermatology (NUS)