In September 2022, the Ministry of Health published an epidemiological bulletin that recorded an almost 190% increase in dengue cases compared to the same period in 2021. This is a significant increase, even when dengue has been considered an endemic disease for many years. Old.
This was due to the high temperatures in Brazil. Rising temperatures has an important relationship with the increase in dengue cases, as mosquitoes are unfortunately the notorious vector Aedes aegyptiHe loves high temperatures.
It develops best at 28°C and 30°C. And, as happens in many areas of this tropical country, after drought and heat comes rain – also heavy this year, further spreading this transmitter.
Additionally, there is the issue of the care people need without relying on anyone who remembers to do so.
After it rains, always check if there is a buildup of water in the backyard, keep the water tanks closed and remove the trash, as it can also cooperate with this buildup.
If there is standing water, there will be Aedes aegypti Lay eggs. If the water remains still, these eggs will hatch and the larvae will develop into adults, further spreading the disease.
In a country with as many poor people with housing difficulties as ours, this increase in the number of cases wasn’t entirely surprising.
And if the number of cases is not enough, it is worth mentioning that at this moment we are going through the annual period of dengue which usually occurs between October and May. In this period, it is important to be aware of some of the symptoms.
After a female mosquito bites, there is an incubation period of 3 to 14 days. Then the person begins to develop what we call viremia: there is a high fever that lasts until the fifth day, accompanied by a headache characterized by severe pain behind the eyes, malaise, weakness, aches and pains. joints, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. Diarrhea can also occur.
At this stage, rash lesions may continue to appear, which are spots on the body that are concentrated on the face, trunk, and extremities. After these five days, the patient may improve or the disease may progress to a critical stage, which occurs when the fever subsides, but bleeding begins which can lead to shock and organ dysfunction.
The thing I always ask is: Can someone who has had dengue again get infected again? The answer is: yes, because the arbovirus (the scientific name for viruses transmitted by mosquitoes) of dengue has four serotypes, generally called 1, 2, 3, and 4. When infected with one of these serotypes, a person only develops immunity against it and remains susceptible to the others. .
There is a vaccine, but it is only available in the private network and is not indicated for mass vaccination due to important criteria: only people who have had dengue fever can be vaccinated, these people must be between the ages of 9 and 45 and the vaccination is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Therefore, although there is a vaccine, its scope is still not expressed the way we need it in Brazil. Therefore, society and public authorities need to move in this hard-to-win battle.
Basic sanitation and public policies in both health, education and awareness are essential. As long as we have such a large population in misery, we will have dengue records.
Sandra Gomez de Barros
Specialist in infections and professor of medicine at the University of Santo Amaro
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