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Five things to know about Dengue fever

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), on Saturday said 13 cases of dengue fever have been confirmed in Sokoto State. In a…

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), on Saturday said 13 cases of dengue fever have been confirmed in Sokoto State.

In a statement posted on its official website, the Director-General of the NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, said the outbreak was detected in November.

Adetifa said so far, 71 suspected cases and 13 confirmed cases had been reported in three local government areas across the state.

He said 60 cases were reported from Sokoto South, three cases from Wamako and one case from Dange Shuni.

He, however, said no death had been recorded from the outbreak.

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“The majority of the suspected cases reported fall between the age range of 21- 40 years,” he said.

Adetifa said the current risk level of the dengue outbreak is moderate based on a dynamic risk assessment.

According to him, there is currently adequate in-country capacity (including technical, health workforce, and diagnostic) to respond effectively in the event of a large-scale outbreak.

What is Dengue fever?

According to Mayo Clinic, Dengue (also spelled as DENG-gey) fever is a mosquito-borne illness that occurs in tropical and subtropical areas of the world, with millions of cases of dengue infection occurring worldwide each year.

Dengue fever is most common in Southeast Asia, the western Pacific islands, Latin America and Africa. But the disease has been spreading to new areas, including local outbreaks in Europe and southern parts of the United States.

Most people recover within a week or so. In some cases, symptoms worsen and can become life-threatening. This is called severe dengue, dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome.

Mild symptoms

Mild dengue fever causes a high fever and flu-like symptoms. The severe form of dengue fever, also called dengue hemorrhagic fever, can cause serious bleeding, a sudden drop in blood pressure (shock) and death.

However, it is reported that most people experience no signs or symptoms of a dengue infection.

When symptoms do occur, they may be mistaken for other illnesses — such as the flu — and usually begin four to 10 days after you are bitten by an infected mosquito.

The mild symptoms usually include: headache, muscle, bone or joint pain, nausea, vomiting, pain behind the eyes, swollen glands, rash.

Severe symptoms

Severe dengue happens when your blood vessels become damaged and leaky. And the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your bloodstream drops. This can lead to shock, internal bleeding, organ failure and even death.

Warning signs of severe dengue fever — which is a life-threatening emergency — can develop quickly. The warning signs usually begin the first day or two after your fever goes away, and may include: severe stomach pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding from your gums or nose, blood in your urine, stools or vomit, bleeding under the skin (which might look like bruising), difficult or rapid breathing, fatigue, irritability or restlessness.

Prevention

Researchers are working on dengue fever vaccines. For now, in areas where dengue fever is common, the best ways to prevent infection are to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and to take steps to reduce the mosquito population.

When to see a doctor

Severe dengue fever is a life-threatening medical emergency. Seek immediate medical attention if you have recently visited an area in which dengue fever is known to occur, you have had a fever and you develop any of the warning signs.

Warning signs include severe stomach pain, vomiting, difficulty breathing, or blood in your nose, gums, vomit or stools.

If you’ve been traveling recently and develop a fever and mild symptoms of dengue fever, call your doctor.

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