Monday, October 4, 2010

Commonwealth Games and Dengue Fever

Yesterday the Commonwealth Games opened for the first time in Delhi, India! We are very proud to host this event, and we are looking forward to the positive effect that the Commonwealth Games will have on our country, especially for Delhi NCR. With the influx of foreigners all around Delhi NCR, we are looking forward to the possibility of foreigners taking an interest in helping local organizations in need! If not, at least we'll enjoy the event at our home!

Today, one volunteer went to the school for underprivileged children, where she spent the day teaching them English. She mentioned that there was one child who had a confirmed case of Dengue Fever, and two other children who have symptoms, but there is no confirmation that they have contracted Dengue Fever. I feel like it would be an appropriate time to discuss some facts about Dengue Fever.

Mosquitoes that carry dengue usually bite during sunrise and sunset, but they also bite any time during the day, usually indoors, in shady areas, or when the weather is cloudy. This is interesting, as other mosquitoes, that do not carry dengue, usually bite at night. Symptoms of Dengue Fever can be minimal, such as headache, nausea, loss of appetite, and fever, while severe symptoms include severe fluid loss and hemorrhaging. Symptoms of Dengue Fever usually last between two and seven days. Currently, there is no approved vaccine for the virus. Typically, oral rehydration therapy is best for Dengue, and, while aspirin should be avoided, paracetamol and acetominophen. 

After looking at these facts, it appears that the child who was bitten by a dengue-carrying mosquito was unlikely bitten at the school. This school is run outdoors, and for the past week it has been very sunny, a setting which the dengue-carrying mosquito does not prefer (In the picture, you can clearly see that the park wouldn't be damp after a week of sunshine. The photo was taken by one of our volunteers from Barcelona, Tania, when she volunteered with Aim Abroad on September 1st). From the information, it appears that the child is not contagious, as the disease is spread only by these mosquitoes, so there should be no concern about the health of the other children. It is likely that the child was infected with Dengue in his home, as the area where he lives is most likely a very damp area, like many of the slum homes, where hygiene conditions are very poor. Though the disease is a very serious concern, it is a relief to know that the children are most likely not being exposed to Dengue at their school. We hope that the child, and the other children, who potentially have Dengue Fever, will have a speedy recovery.

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