Assignment 9: Dengue Fever as a Public Health Problem

Source:  Assignment 9: Dengue Fever as a Public Health Problem    Tag:  symtoms of dengue fever
Dengue fever is a virus-caused disease that has been one of the most important resurgent tropical diseases in Latin America for the last two decades, where countries have experienced marked increases in the incidence of both classic dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever.

The virus is spread by mosquitoes, specially by the mosquito Aedes aegypti, commonly known as patas blancas, because of the white markings on its legs. Its clinical diagnosis is relatively ambiguous, and lab tests are required in order to be sure that a case is dengue, because its initial symptoms are very similar to those of a common cold (fever, headache, fatigue, joints and muscles aches). This tends to lead to complications as people mis-diagnose the disease for common cold and take aspirin to treat it. Aspirin has anticoagulant effects that can increase the bleeding so that the classic dengue fever becomes an hemorrhagic fever that cannot be treated with regular antibiotics.

I want to do my research paper on how can public health institutions work to prevent the high incidence of dengue and develop/communicate more efficient and accessible diagnosis/treatment strategies for classical dengue fever, as to reduce the incidence of dengue hemorrhagic fever. As a background information, it will be necessary to study the major risk factors for the occurrence of dengue in the region and local societal/economical factors pertinent for the design of a preventive, diagnostic and treatment strategy for the localized region.

I'd like to frame this problem in my hometown, Caracas, during the last twenty years, because it is a problem that I have seen growing during my whole life. A lot of the people in my inner circle of friends and family have had dengue at some point of their lives, and I clearly remember the 2005 epidemic, when my mom wouldn't let us leave the house without mosquito repellent, Citronella candles where more coveted than gold and relatives where continuously looking for O- blood donors that could help for the treatment of those who had the hemorrhagic fever.

So, for the problem definition, it would be something around: The growing incidence of dengue hemorrhagic fever in Caracas during 1990-2010 as a consequence of the lack of an effective preventive, diagnostic and treatment structure for the classical dengue fever.