Friday, October 06, 2006

It is Dengue-3 virus this time

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has confirmed that the virus behind the current outbreak Dengue in the NCR Delhi is the Dengue 3 Genotype III. This strain sneaked into India from West Indies in 2003. Though this strain creates widespread fever, fortunately fatality of this strain is lower. The current outbreak is not caused by the deadlier Dengue-2 strain and so the fatality rate is very low. However, the Dengue-2 strain has also been reported by AIIMS and sources say it is a cause of worry. An outbreak Dengue often records more than one strain active, but one of them becomes more virulent than the others.

There are four strains of Dengue – 1, 2, 3 and 4. One is expected to be infected by the same strain only once in their lifetime as antibodies formed will protect him from that strain forever. Dengue-1 causes high fever and joint pain. Dengue-2 causes haemorrhagic fever resulting in spontaneous bleeding form skin and gums. Dengue-3 causes high fever and Dengue-4 causes DHF (Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever) with shock leading to un-recordable blood pressure. In DHF a person bleeds to death both internally and externally because of excessive lowering of platelets.

The 1996 outbreak was the most fatal caused by the Dengue-2 strain. Over 550 people died in the 1996 outbreak. Fortunately, this strain has not returned with that ferocity. But there is every possibility that it will make a comeback someday.

The update from Delhi is that there has been one more fatality reported in last two days taking the toll to 16.

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