Home » This is what dengue does in your body when the transmitting mosquito bites you somewhere on your body.

This is what dengue does in your body when the transmitting mosquito bites you somewhere on your body.

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This is what dengue does in your body when the transmitting mosquito bites you somewhere on your body.

Dengue triggers a series of symptoms that range from mild to potentially fatal conditions in those affected | YouTube / Santa Fe Foundation

Dengue, a viral disease transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, has been a public health concern in Peru for decades. With the increase in cases in various regions of the country in recent weeks, understanding how the virus affects the human body is essential for its prevention and treatment.

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When a mosquito carrying the dengue virus bites a person anywhere on the body, it triggers a series of reactions that can be devastating to health. From the first moments after the bite, the virus begins to spread in the bloodstream, reaching different tissues and organs.

It is important to note that dengue manifests itself in various ways and can affect people of all ages, from babies to older adults.

This striking macrophotograph reveals the Aedes aegypti mosquito, vector of diseases such as dengue and yellow fever. A reminder of the importance of care, prevention and public health. (Illustrative image Infobae)

The process begins with the mosquito bite, seemingly harmless but fraught with serious consequences. When Aedes aegypti pierces the skin in search of blood, it introduces the dengue virus into the victim’s bloodstream, marking the beginning of an internal battle.

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The virus spreads rapidly through the circulatory system, infiltrating different organs and tissues. Along the way, it triggers an excessive immune response, which can lead to a series of symptoms ranging from fever and muscle pain to more severe complications.

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One of the body’s first responses to dengue infection is inflammation. The immune system activates defense mechanisms to fight the virus, which often manifests itself with fever, muscle and joint pain, and general malaise.

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These symptoms, characteristic of the initial phase of dengue, can last several days and significantly affect the patient’s quality of life.

Dengue symptoms can range from high fever to life-threatening complications. – Credit: Infographic / CDC

‘Break fever’, a characteristic symptom of dengue, plunges the patient into a state of extreme discomfort. Joint and muscle pain intensifies, affecting mobility and quality of life. Fever can reach dangerous levels, triggering serious complications.

Blood platelets, vital for coagulation, are targeted by dengue. The virus induces a decrease in the concentration of platelets, increasing the risk of internal and external bleeding. This complication, known as dengue shock syndrome, can be potentially fatal if not properly addressed.

The most common symptoms of the disease include fever, muscle pain, pain behind the eyes, headache, nausea and vomiting (Getty Images)

Beyond the physical damage, dengue can also affect the central nervous system and manifests itself with symptoms such as confusion, seizures and muscle weakness.

In extreme cases, dengue can trigger complications such as inflammation of the brain, meningitis (inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain), encephalitis and Guillain-Barré syndrome. These conditions can cause brain damage, paralysis and other long-lasting neurological consequences, changing the lives of those who suffer from it.

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Another worrying aspect of dengue is its ability to affect vital organs such as the liver, kidneys and heart. Dengue-associated hepatitis is a known complication, which can cause liver damage and organ dysfunction. Additionally, the virus can affect kidney function and cause acute kidney failure in severe cases.

Increase in dengue infections puts Peruvian health authorities on alert. (AP Photo/Martín Mejía)

Detection of dengue can be carried out using molecular biology techniques such as RT-PCR (Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction), which allows the identification of the virus’s RNA in the patient’s blood. This test can be done during the first seven days after your symptoms started.

Rapid serological tests are also performed, which look for antibodies against the dengue virus in the patient’s blood. IgM tests are useful in detecting recent infections, while IgG tests can indicate past or recent infections.

A nurse holds a blood sample from a patient suspected of having dengue fever. – Credit: REUTERS/Tita Barros

Regarding the treatment of dengue, the Minsa has confirmed that there is no special treatment to combat the disease that afflicts Peru. Symptom management and patient support should always be under the supervision of a physician.

The infectious disease doctor from the National Institute of Health (INS), César Cabezas, in statements to Infobae Perú, recommends not taking any medications, since these could worsen the patient’s situation. What he does recommend is to hydrate a lot and, at most, take Paracetamol to counteract the discomfort, and you should avoid medications that increase the risk of bleeding, such as acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) and ibuprofen.

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It is important to highlight that if dengue is suspected, especially in high incidence areas, medical attention should be sought for early diagnosis and appropriate management of the disease.

Minsa reports on the number of dengue cases so far in 2024 | Photo composition: Infobae Peru

Faced with the worrying increase in dengue cases in Peru, the Ministry of Health (Minsa) activated the alarms and issued an epidemiological alert through the National Center for Epidemiology and Disease Control (CDC). The initiative seeks to mobilize health services, strengthen preventive measures and guarantee timely care.

Strategies include securing medical supplies, training staff, and encouraging the use of Fever Units and Clinical Surveillance. The call extends to inter-institutional collaboration and highlights the importance of prevention at the family and community level.

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