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US Army declares war on Dengue


An article covered by Medical News Today discusses the US Army and its attempts to control Dengue Fever, by attacking the mosquito that carries the disease.

Basics: Dengue is also known as “breakbone fever” after the muscular aches and myalgia it causes. An Arbovirus, transmitted by the bite of the Aedes mosquito, Dengue comes in 4 serotypes numbered 1-4. Found worldwide, this single stranded RNA virus is most closely associated with urban transmission. Infection may progress to Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever(DHF) and the risk of DHF increases with each subsequent infection. Typical symptoms include fever, severe muscle aches and fine petechial rash.

Location: Tropics worldwide, more common in urban settings

Transmission/ Incubation: transmitted by A. Aegypti in cities and A. Albopictus in jungles. Incubation is generally 5-10 days.

Prevention: Mosquito and vector control, topical DEET spray and permethrin treated clothing and bed nets.

Diagnosis: Serology/PCR

Treatment: Supportive Care including antipyretics, pain control and IV fluids

Dengue fever is a viral illness that is carried by Aedes mosquitoes. There is no treatment and no vaccine against this disease, nicknamed “breakbone fever” due to the body aches and pains associated with the disease. This infection is found in virtually all tropical countries, around the world and is a major source of mortality, especially in children. Complications of Dengue can include progression to “dengue hemorrhagic shock” where there is massive bleeding.

The Army’s plan is to make use of technology designed by SpringStar Inc, which is basically an innovative mosquito trap. The Aedes mosquito lays it’s eggs in standing water, such as water basins, old tires and virtually anything else that can hold water. The trap takes advantage of the fact that the mosquito likes to lay it’s eggs on the sides of the water, not in the middle. Using this information, a tiny (one millionth of a kilogram) dose of insecticide can be placed in the area where the eggs are to be laid. Thus, killing the mosquito and preventing massive local contamination of harmful “bug poison”.

Annually, Dengue infects 20-50 million people worldwide, with 15-20,000 deaths per year. One estimate also puts 2.5 billion people at risk for infection with Dengue fever. This is also considered the third most important infectious disease that effects US military troops, abroad.

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