Dengue Fever Epidemic in Asia

September 29, 2005

While the world anxiously prepares for an avian flu epidemic, Dengue Fever is sweeping Asia. At least 127,000 people have been infected by dengue so far this year from eastern India to Indonesia and the Philippines, with at least 990 deaths.A member of the same family of viruses that causes West Nile, Japanese encephalitis and yellow fever, dengue fever is a potentially fatal disease for which there is no vaccine or treatment despite estimates that it infects at least 50 million people a year. Those with acute cases suffer a painful fever and debilitating lethargy, with about 1 percent developing hemorrhagic fever or shock, sometimes with gastrointestinal bleeding and, in rare cases, brain hemorrhages. The two species of mosquitoes that carry dengue, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, can breed in minuscule pools of fresh water in homes and gardens, in addition to plastic containers and lids that often litter Asia's urban landscape.Full story from International Herald Tribune


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