Home » Dengue virus, symptoms and mortality: when it can have serious effects

Dengue virus, symptoms and mortality: when it can have serious effects

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Dengue virus, symptoms and mortality: when it can have serious effects

In most cases its symptoms are mild: a little fever, general soreness, some eye discomfort. Little more than an influence, in short, with which she is sometimes confused. This is why dengue, especially in our latitudes, is not yet scary. Yet there are cases in which the disease, caused by four serotypes of viruses similar to each other (Den-1, Den-2, Den-3 and Den-4) and transmitted through the bite of mosquitoes (mainly Temples of the Egyptians and to a lesser extent Aedes albopictus), can manifest itself in a much more serious way, in a haemorrhagic form which can cause death. This happens – or at least so we have imagined until now – only in the case of reinfection: that is, in the event that an individual already affected by dengue comes into contact with the virus again but of another serotype.

Dengue virus and West Nile, five moves to avoid the emergency by Elisa Manacorda 19 January 2024 Situation that can occur in areas where the disease is endemic (the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, South-East Asia, China, India, the Middle East , Latin and Central America, Australia and various areas of the Pacific) and which is instead extremely rare if not completely absent in countries like Italy, where the spread of the virus is very low, although growing.
Now, however, a study conducted in India on a pediatric population from Anmol Chandelehead of the ICGEB-Emory Vaccine Program at ICGEB in New Delhi, India, in collaboration with other research institutes, and just published in Nature Medicine, shows that more than half of cases of serious infection could be attributed to a primary rather than secondary infection. Forgotten tropical diseases, over half also present in Italy 26 January 2024

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“The Indian colleagues – he tells Salute Alexander Marcellus, head of the Molecular Virology laboratory of the ICGEB which operates in the Area Science Park of Trieste – examined 619 children with confirmed febrile dengue infection from three hospitals in different regions of India. Then they distinguished the infections into primary and secondary using a specific test. Discovering that primary dengue infections represented more than half of the total cases (344 out of 619), but above all more than half of the serious cases (112 out of 202) and deaths (5 out of 7)”. Results which therefore call into question the belief according to which severe dengue is predominantly associated with secondary infections. And which suggest – add researchers from the New Delhi research center – the need to reevaluate our understanding of dengue and the strategies used to fight it. Dengue, how long before is it necessary to get vaccinated? 12 February 2024 In Italy, the Istituto Superiore di Sanità recalls, to date there have been around eighty cases transmitted locally, plus around 250 cases of dengue imported from other countries. In this last case it is worth mentioning even one death. “What is happening in our country is a striking example of the expansion of dengue,” says Marcello. “During 2023 we had the highest number of cases and autochthonous transmissions of dengue in our country until now . Climate changes above all, but also the movements of people, are mainly responsible for the circulation of dengue in new areas. The study by Indian colleagues shows us the need to protect our population from the first encounter with the virus”. Dengue, what it is: how it is transmitted, the symptoms, the vaccines 13 February 2024 In this sense, the results that coming from India tell us that we must keep our antennas up, ready to pick up the first signs of danger here too. “I don’t want to cause useless alarmism, but the fact that serious cases are possible even with the first infection reminds us that we are not at zero risk”. In fact, the genetic analyzes conducted on the virus circulating in Italy tell us that at least three of the four forms of the virus are in circulation in our country, albeit limited.

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In Italy there are already two serotypes circulating

“We collaborated on an analysis of the serotypes circulating in Italy since last year, both to understand which ones they were and where they came from. And we saw that in Italy there are already one, two and three, which arrived from southern countries America”, continues Marcello. These are infections that originated from a traveler who returned and then spread locally. Therefore in Italy the risk of double infection is already present.

Two vaccines available

Two vaccines are now available against dengue, one of which is approved in our country, and is also suitable for those who have already had the infection, so it can be administered even without taking a test to ascertain a previous encounter with the virus. “The Chandele study does not in any way call into question the effectiveness of immunization, because it is a vaccine designed against all four serotypes,” says Marcello, but it makes it important to reflect on the type of people who could benefit from it greater benefit. “Our result – confirm researchers from ICGEB in New Delhi – has very important implications for public health in the world and also for the development and implementation of effective and safe vaccination strategies for the control of dengue, not only in the context Indian, where the burden of dengue is considerable, but also on a global scale, as dengue viruses continue to spread around the world.”

There is no cure yet

The fact remains that there is still no specific cure for dengue. “There are some drug trials in an advanced, preclinical and clinical phase, and there are symptomatic treatments in the most serious cases”, concludes the researcher, but at the moment the most important action remains that of individual protection, with mosquito nets, insect repellents and clothing that covers the limbs, and at the same time the fight against mosquitoes, avoiding stagnation of water in terraces and gardens where insect larvae nest, and with disinfestation.

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