Dengue Myths vs. Facts

Myth: We are facing a dengue epidemicFact: Delhi is at present going through a dengue outbreak, and it is not yet an epidemic

Myth: All dengue cases are the same and must be dealt with in the same mannerFact: Dengue can be classified as dengue fever and severe dengue. A person is said to be suffering from severe dengue when there is capillary leakage. Patients who have dengue fever do not have capillary leakage. Type 2 and type 4 dengue are more likely to cause capillary leakage.

Myth: Everyone suffering from dengue must be hospitalizedFact: Dengue fever can be managed on an outpatient basis and patients who do not have severe abdominal pain or tenderness, persistent vomiting, abnormal mental status or extreme weakness, do not need hospitalization. Only patients suffering from severe dengue need hospitalization basis the discretion of their consulting doctor. One must always remember that 70% of the dengue fever cases can be cured just through the proper administration of oral fluids. Patients must be given 100-150 ml of safe water every hour, and it must be ensured that they must pass urine every 4-6 hours.

Myth: Dengue can never re-occur if you have had it once in the pastFact: There are four types of dengue infections, which exist in our country.While dengue from the strain cannot re-occur, that from a different strain can. A second occurrence dengue (secondary) is more serious than first infection (primary). In the primary infection, IgM or NS1 will be positive and in secondary infection IgG will also be positive.

Myth: This is the worst outbreak of dengue that Delhi has ever witnessedFact: The present outbreak of dengue in the Capital is that of Dengue 4. The reason for a large number of cases is that Dengue 4 has spread in the capital for the first time. The outbreak of Dengue 2 in 2013 was more dangerous than the present Dengue 4 outbreak.

Myth: Platelet transfusion is the primary treatment option for people suffering from dengue feverFact: Platelet transfusion is only needed in cases where the patient's counts are less than 10,000, and there is active bleeding. Unnecessary platelet transfusion can cause more harm than good. The best treatment for dengue is to administer large amounts of oral fluids to patients. For patients who are unable to take oral fluids, intravenous administration may be necessary.

Myth: Machine platelet count is accurateFact: Machine platelet count reading may be less than the actual platelet count, and a difference of about 30,000 can occur

Myth: Testing platelet levels alone accounts for complete and effective management of dengueFact: A complete blood count (especially hematocrit) is needed to monitor prognosis and increased capillary permeability, which is the starting point of all complications. Falling platelet counts with rising hematocrit levels are most important