Dengue Fever is a mosquito borne disease affecting an estimated 50 million people every year. Dengue Fever happens in all tropical and some sub tropical areas of the world, generally in an urban setting. Before 1970 only nine countries had experienced Dengue Fever, by 1995 this had increased four fold. Humans contract this disease when bitten by an infected female Aedes mosquito.
These mosquitoes remain infected all their lives and can in turn pass on infectivity to their eggs. In some parts of the world it has been seen that monkeys are able to pass on the infection to mosquitoes also. Endemic areas increase around the world because of trade (particularly tyre trade where mosquitoes breed in pools of water in tyres). After a bite from an infected Aedes mosquito, the germ circulates in the blood for 2 to 7 days, causing a feverish illness with muscle and headache pains similar to flu.
Dengue mosquitoes like to hide in dark places and closets. Outside, they prefer shaded and cool areas such as school grounds, malls, and park. The female breeds in anything that holds stagnant water like drums, barrels, old tires, flower vases, pots, bottles, refrigerator drip pans, roof gutters, and other places that collect rainwater.
Many things contribute to the increase of dengue; these include climate changes brought about by the El Nino phenomenon, increasing urban populations, and poverty. Mosquito breeding sites have also increased because of poor water storage and sewage systems, uncollected garbage, and infrastructure projects with stagnant pools. Mass transportation has made it easier for them to reach other places and move infected humans.
To control the dengue fever its better to cover water drums and water pails at all times to stop mosquitoes from breeding. Replace water in flower vases at least one time a week and clean all water containers once a week. Rub the sides well to eliminate eggs of mosquitoes sticking to the sides. Clean gutters of leaves and debris so that rain water will not gather as breeding places of mosquitoes. Old tires used as roof support should be cut or to punctured avoid accumulation of water. Collect and dispose all unusable tin jars, cans, bottles and other things that can collect and hold water.
Cleanliness and early detection of dengue are the most excellent weapons to fight this type of disease and we must remember always that prevention is always better than cure.