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Dengue fever

Last update: 2022-06-07

Key facts

Transmission

  • Mosquito bite
  • Mosquitoes that spread dengue fever usually bite during the day, especially in early morning and late afternoon and evening
  • During pregnancy, from mother to child
  • Organ transplants and blood transfusions from infected donors

Symptoms

  • Starts with sudden fever.
  • Can be accompanied by severe headache, muscle and joint pain, pain behind the eyes, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands and a rash.
  • In some very severe cases, the disease can cause severe stomach pain, difficulty breathing and bleeding (known as “dengue haemorrhagic fever”), and even death.

Prevention

  • Prevention of mosquito bites by placing insect screens on windows and doors and wearing personal protection (apply repellents, wear long sleeved clothes, etc.)
  • Community clean-up campaigns to remove rubbish and cover water containers
  • Destruction of mosquito breeding sites by removing standing water, fogging, and applying larvicides
  • Routine vaccination
  • Social mobilization and behaviour change communication

Vulnerable people

  • Any person in the community can get dengue fever; but babies and young children are at higher risk of severe dengue fever
  • Dengue fever is important for pregnant women because they can pass the disease to their unborn baby

If an epidemic occurs

  • Increase community-based surveillance
  • Rapidly detect and refer serious cases to health facilities
  • Increase social mobilization and behaviour change communication
  • Promote community clean-up campaigns to remove rubbish and cover water containers
  • Support mass vaccination campaigns if vaccination is part of country’s dengue control programme and encourage social mobilization to
  • support them
  • Promote the prevention of mosquito bites by placing insect screens on windows and doors and wearing personal protection (apply repellents, wear long sleeved clothes, etc.)
  • Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by removing standing water, fogging, and applying larvicides
  • Encourage young children and people who sleep during the day to sleep under a mosquito net (if windows and doors are not screened)

Community-based assessment - questions

Make a map of the community and mark the information you gather on the map. Record other details.

  • When did people start to fall sick with dengue?
  • How many people have fallen sick with dengue? Where?
  • How many people are severely ill with dengue haemorrhagic fever?
  • How many have died? Where?
  • How many people live in the affected community or area? How many children under five years of age live in the area?
  • Who and where are the vulnerable people?
  • Are children under five most affected? Or are other age groups, occupations, etc., more affected?
  • Do people usually cover their water containers (inside and outside)?
  • How many houses have insect screens on the windows and doors?
  • What are the community’s habits, practices and beliefs regarding use of repellents, sprays, etc.?
  • How do people in the community usually dispose of rubbish and solid waste?
  • Have the authorities established a vector control programme?
  • Where are the local health facilities and services? (Include traditional and community carers.)
  • What are the community’s habits, practices and beliefs about caring for and feeding sick people? When babies and infants are sick, do women continue to breastfeed them?
  • Is a social mobilization or health promotion programme in place?
  • Which sources of information do people use most?
  • Are rumours or is misinformation about the disease spreading in the community?