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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Is Florida Headed Towards a Dengue Fever Outbreak?

Instances of dengue fever, also referred to as “break-bone” fever1 because of excessive joint ache being certainly one of its hallmark signs, are hovering worldwide, with many international locations reporting larger than regular numbers. Whereas a majority of the circumstances are seen in tropical and subtropical areas like South Asia, Africa and South America,2 U.S. well being officers have just lately sounded the alarm a few rise of circumstances in a number of states.

In June 2024, the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) issued an alert concerning the growing dengue incidents within the Americas.

As of the most recent epidemiological replace from the Pan American Well being Group (PAHO),3 a record-breaking 9,852,482 suspected dengue circumstances had been recorded from January to June 2024 — that’s twice as many because the reported circumstances (4.6 million) in 2023.4 “This represents a rise of 231% in comparison with the identical interval in 2023 and 420% in comparison with the common of the final 5 years,” PAHO reviews.5

Two Florida Counties Report Rising Dengue Instances

With its humid, subtropical climate all 12 months spherical — the right breeding situations for mosquitoes — Florida is without doubt one of the states being intently monitored for a possible dengue outbreak. In accordance with the CDC, 197 dengue fever circumstances have been reported within the state. Whereas the bulk are travel-related (that means contaminated locals have just lately visited different areas the place dengue is endemic), there are additionally reviews of domestically transmitted circumstances.6

One of the crucial current domestically acquired circumstances was in Hillsborough County, reported by the Florida Division of Well being on June 24.7 In the meantime, Miami-Dade County has reported six domestically acquired circumstances this 12 months.8 Though considerably decrease than final 12 months’s numbers — Miami-Dade had 173 domestically acquired circumstances in 2023 — it’s nonetheless a trigger for concern.

Different states like Hawaii, Texas, California and Arizona have additionally beforehand reported small native outbreaks of dengue fever9 in accordance with the CDC, cautioning residents to be notably vigilant.

“Dengue stays much less widespread within the continental United States, however within the 50 states to date this 12 months there have been thrice extra circumstances than on the identical level final 12 months. Most had been infections that vacationers obtained overseas, and officers notice there isn’t any proof of a present outbreak. However additionally they warn that native mosquitoes pose a risk,” CBS Information reviews.10

Fundamental Info About Dengue Fever

The dengue virus is a single positive-stranded RNA virus that belongs to the Flaviviridae household and is transmitted to people by the Aedes mosquito species, notably Aedes albopictus, Aedes polynesiensis and Aedes scutellaris.11 These small, black mosquitoes may be recognized by the white stripes on their again and legs; the females lay their eggs in standing water. In accordance with the Washington Put up:12

“A single bottle cap crammed with rainwater can maintain greater than 100 [mosquito] eggs, mentioned Sadie Ryan, a medical geographer on the College of Florida who focuses on insect-borne illnesses.

‘They’re tenacious, they’re pernicious,’ Ryan mentioned. ‘Actually, they’re simply good at being in every single place.’ They behave like tiny vampires at a human buffet, flitting from individual to individual, doubtlessly spreading illness with every chunk.”

The Aedes mosquito can unfold 4 kinds of dengue viruses, particularly DENV-1, -2, -3 and -4, that are distinct however intently associated. The CDC notes that about 1 in 4 individuals who grow to be contaminated with the virus will get sick with dengue fever; the bulk stay asymptomatic. When symptomatic, dengue fever could possibly be both delicate or extreme.13

Dengue’s incubation interval — from the time between publicity to when the signs begin to manifest — is often between 4 and 7 days, though in some circumstances it might probably take so long as 14 days.14 Signs embody:

A excessive fever round 104 levels F or (40 levels C)

Extreme headache

Ache behind the eyes

Joint and muscle ache

Nausea and vomiting

Swollen glands


Kids with dengue fever may additionally expertise widespread chilly and gastroenteritis-like signs.15 In uncommon situations — about 1 in 20 sufferers — dengue fever can develop right into a extreme sickness. Indicators of extreme dengue often seem one to 2 days after the fever has subsided, and if not handled, could result in shock, inner bleeding and even dying.16

If in case you have been identified with dengue fever and expertise the signs beneath, it’s essential to hunt instant remedy immediately:17,18

Extreme belly ache or tenderness

Vomiting (at the very least thrice in 24 hours)

Bleeding from the nostril or gums

Feeling extraordinarily drained or stressed

Vomiting blood or blood within the stool

Fast respiratory

Pale and chilly pores and skin

Elevated thirst

Puerto Rico Has Declared a Dengue Epidemic

Though extreme dengue fever could happen throughout main an infection, most situations happen throughout secondary an infection — that is when you will have been beforehand contaminated with one DENV pressure after which re-infected with one other pressure. CBS explains:19

“When somebody is first contaminated, their physique builds antibodies towards that sort for all times. In the event that they get contaminated with one other sort of dengue, the antibodies from the primary an infection could fail to neutralize the second sort —and really may also help the virus enter immune cells and replicate.”

It is a rising concern in Puerto Rico, which has been extensively uncovered to DENV-1 for the final twenty years. In accordance with Dr. Gabriela Paz-Bailey, the Puerto Rico-based chief of the CDC’s dengue department, “We’re at the moment seeing will increase within the circumstances because of dengue 2 and dengue 3, for which the inhabitants has little or no immunity.”20

Puerto Rico declared a dengue epidemic in March 2024, with 549 circumstances reported and greater than 340 hospitalized.21 A lot of the circumstances had been seen within the capital of San Juan. In Might, the island reported its first dengue-caused dying for the 12 months.22 By June, the quantity soared to a whopping 1,498 circumstances,23 which is larger than the general dengue circumstances (1,293) from all of 2023.24

Nevertheless it isn’t simply Puerto Rico and the Americas which can be experiencing this surge. Worldwide, dengue circumstances have considerably elevated within the final 5 years, in accordance with the World Well being Group (WHO). At present, 90 international locations have recognized lively transmission of this illness.25

There’s No Standard Remedy for Dengue

Dengue fever isn’t deadly, however in the event you do fall unwell due to this an infection, it’s essential to handle your signs and keep hydrated to assist your self get well. There isn’t any recognized remedy for dengue; delicate circumstances may be managed at residence with ache remedy and fluids. In extreme circumstances, hospitalization could also be needed to make sure correct restoration.

The dengue virus messes together with your bone marrow cells, which inhibits platelet manufacturing.26 This results in thrombocytopenia, or a fast decline in platelet depend. Because of this, platelet infusions are sometimes suggested with standard remedy.

Nonetheless, there’s rising analysis27,28,29 stating that transfusions to extend platelet depend is questionable, and should trigger additional detrimental results. One examine, revealed in 2022 within the journal Case Experiences in Hematology,30 notes:

“Thrombocytopenia is a quite common medical manifestation in dengue. The platelet depend could drop very abruptly, however more often than not it follows its personal medical course and needs to be managed conservatively … It is vitally vital for clinicians to know that platelet transfusions haven’t any profit in treating thrombocytopenia in dengue and needs to be prevented as they could trigger important uncomfortable side effects.”

Three years in the past, New Delhi, India, skilled a dengue fever outbreak, which overwhelmed their native hospitals and led to a excessive demand in platelets. Nonetheless, whereas sufferers manifesting extreme signs like very low platelet depend, inner bleeding or rashes could profit from transfusions, the medical doctors had been usually towards preventive transfusions.31

In a Occasions of India article,32 Dr. Jyoti Kotwal, chairperson of the division of hematology at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, commented:

“Transfusion runs the danger of transmitted infections. Platelet transfusion shouldn’t be overprescribed. In our hospital, we conduct immature platelet fraction assessments earlier than deciding whether or not a affected person wants transfusion or not. It measures younger platelet depend as an alternative of absolute depend, which is a extra dependable indicator of severity.”

Dr. Rommel Tickoo, director of inner drugs at Max Saket Hospital, echoed this sentiment, and mentioned majority of sufferers can profit from correct hydration and supportive remedy as an alternative, in addition to getting examined on time.

“We see sufferers who preserve ready at residence with excessive fever for 5 to 6 days and rush to hospital with extreme signs. … Get the dengue take a look at finished if fever and different signs persist for 2 days or extra for well timed analysis and remedy,” he suggested.33

These Pure Treatments Might Assist With Dengue Restoration

Whereas there are not any medicines that may treatment dengue fever, you may flip to sure meals, natural cures and dietary supplements to assist naturally strengthen your immune system, improve platelet depend and handle signs to assist facilitate the therapeutic course of.

In a single 2023 examine,34 for instance, scientists discovered that 4 kinds of carbohydrate-binding brokers (CBAs) may also help forestall the dengue virus from attaching to host cells, inhibiting the an infection’s progress.

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum hybrid), Bovine lactoferrin (a protein present in cow’s milk), stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) and customary snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) had been discovered to intrude with the virus’s skill to connect to wholesome cells. This helps inhibit an infection within the early levels:

“It was proven that the binding of HHA to the DENV-2 E protein blocked the interactions between DENV-2 and DC-SIGN, subsequently interfering with DENV-2 attachment to the host cells.

This indicated that these CBAs acted throughout an early stage of DENV an infection by stopping viral attachment to DC-SIGN receptors on host cells,” the researchers famous.35

As well as, sure natural cures have antiviral properties which will assist with dengue fever restoration. These embody:

1. Carica papaya (Caricaceae) — A 2024 examine revealed within the Asian Plant Analysis Journal36 says that leaf extracts of this unique plant, native to Sri Lanka, can “neutralize plasma with the dengue virus, scale back platelet aggregation, and improve the manufacturing of the enzyme ALOX12, which promotes platelet manufacturing” in dengue sufferers.

An earlier examine, revealed within the Sri Lankan Journal of Infectious Ailments in 2021,37 discovered that C. papaya extracts could assist inhibit DENV-1 infections, suggesting “the potential of C. papaya leaf extract for future growth of antiviral medicine towards DENV-1.”

2. Euphorbia hirta (Euphorbiaceae) — Often known as “bronchial asthma plant,” this branched herb solely grows as much as 70 centimeters excessive however exhibits promising potential with its antiviral properties. One evaluation revealed in 202238 notes that medical investigations of E. hirta amongst dengue sufferers ages 30 to 35 years previous discovered that supplementing with this herb helped scale back flu-like signs by roughly 70%. In accordance with the examine authors:39

“The in vitro evaluation of the ethanolic extract of the plant confirmed outstanding inhibition of plaque formation as much as 85% and 34.7% towards DENV-1 and DENV-2, respectively.”

Within the Philippines, the place extra dengue circumstances are being reported this 12 months in comparison with 2023,40 a water decoction made with E. hirta leaves is used to assist get well from this situation.41

3. Velvetleaf (Cissampelos pareira) — Native to Sri Lanka, India and the Amazon forest, velvetleaf is a flowering plant that belongs to the Menispermaceae household. A examine42 highlights it as one of many botanicals which have proven promise in inhibiting DENV replication, noting that:

“Virtually all elements … like aerial elements, roots, and stem barks in addition to the entire vegetation present protecting results towards DENV, which aren’t restricted to DENV-2 or DENV-1 solely, but additionally towards sort 3 (DENV-3) and sort 4 (DENV-4).”

4. Elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) — Belonging to the household Adoxaceae, elderberry is wealthy in flavonoids, that are answerable for its antiviral exercise. Except for the extract, elder flowers and leaves had been discovered to have antiviral results towards the DENV-2 pressure, at concentrations of 400 micrograms/milliliter (ug/ml).43

5. Garlic (Allium sativum) — Garlic has been extensively praised for its antibacterial, antioxidant, anticarcinogenic and different therapeutic properties. One examine notes that the organosulfur compounds on this herb, notably diallyl disulfide (DADS), diallyl sulfide (DAS) and alliin, could considerably inhibit the inflammatory cytokines in DENV-2 an infection.44

Diet Issues — Increase Your Consumption of These Vitamins

Getting sufficient relaxation, staying hydrated and consuming a nutritious diet are all important methods in the event you’re recovering from a viral illness like dengue fever. Throughout this time, it’s notably vital to get adequate quantities of wholesome vitamins, as some could notably assist velocity up the therapeutic course of.

A 2021 literature evaluation revealed within the American Journal of Tropical Medication and Hygiene45 highlights research from a number of international locations on how supplementing with sure micronutrients could “provide hypothetical advantages to dengue sufferers by way of quite a few potential mechanisms, together with modulation of the host immune response.” A few of the vitamins talked about embody:

  • Vitamin C — Indian researchers46 discovered that sufferers who got supplemental vitamin C not solely had a shorter hospital keep, but additionally had larger platelet counts than those that didn’t take the complement.
  • Vitamin D — A examine from Pakistan47 divided dengue sufferers into two teams; solely these within the first group obtained vitamin D dietary supplements. The researchers discovered that ؅those that didn’t obtain the complement had been extra prone to develop dengue hemorrhagic fever.
  • Vitamin E — Researchers from Sri Lanka48 famous that dengue sufferers who obtained vitamin E dietary supplements confirmed “enhancements in numerous medical and hematological parameters, together with considerably larger subsequent platelet counts amongst sufferers admitted for thrombocytopenia.”
  • Zinc — A examine49 performed in Thailand discovered that supplementing with zinc led to a shorter length of hospitalization amongst youngsters contaminated with dengue.

When you eat a wholesome, well-balanced food regimen loaded with complete meals together with fruit and veggies, you’ll haven’t any scarcity of those vitamins. For instance, kiwi, dragon fruit and papaya are wealthy in nutritional vitamins A, C, E and potassium, all of which can assist promote immunity and improve your platelet depend naturally.50 As for vitamin D, one of the best ways to spice up your ranges is to get common solar publicity as near photo voltaic midday as potential.

Prevention Is Nonetheless the Greatest Course of Motion

Summer season is one of the best season to spend time in nature and beneath the solar, however the worry of being bitten by disease-ridden mosquitoes could make you hesitate. With a view to preserve you from turning into a mosquito magnet throughout this season, I like to recommend taking these preventive measures, so you may spend time exterior with none worries:

Put on lengthy sleeves and pants if you recognize you’ll be outside in a mosquito-prone space.

Use pure insect repellants (not artificial chemical variations), like cinnamon leaf oil, citronella important oil or catnip oil, if needed.

Use a home fan in your yard to maintain mosquitoes away whilst you’re outside.

Strategic planting of marigolds, which mosquitoes are likely to keep away from.

Drain standing water, together with pet bowls, gutters, rubbish and recycling bins, spare tires, hen baths and kids’s toys, as that is the place mosquitoes breed.

Set up a bat home, as mosquitoes are certainly one of their favourite meals.

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