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Dengue Disease in Africa Analytical Essay

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Updated: Dec 23rd, 2019

Distribution and determinants of the Dengue Disease

Dengue can be mostly observed in tropical and sub-tropical regions. In particular, one should speak about Southeast Asia since it is more affected by this virulent disease. Yet, much attention should also be paid to Sub-Saharan Africa as well as South Africa (Figueiredo, et al., 2010, p. 1).

One should keep in mind that Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease; it is transmitted by Aedes aegypti (Schmidt et al.. 2011, p. 1). This disease can occur in very densely populated areas, but at the same time, the outbreaks of this disease adversely affect rural areas.

Overall, researchers argue that the major determinant is the absence of tap water supply (Schmidt et al.. 2011, p. 1). The problem is that Aedes aegypti often breeds in water containers, and people, who use such containers, are at a greater risk of being bitten (Schmidt et al., 2011, p. 1). As a rule, these individuals have a very low income level.

Admittedly, such outbreaks can occur in large urban centers as well because these areas significantly contribute to the spread of this disease; this argument is particular relevant if one speaks about absolute numbers. Nevertheless, such cases can occur if the population density is extremely high.

Therefore, the availability of tap water supply is the main independent variable that can explain the distribution of this disease. In turn, socio-economic status of a person is one of the determinants that can increase the probability of being infected.

Gaps in knowledge about determinants and distribution

There are several gaps in the literature about the distribution of this disease. First, it is important to mention that many cases of this disease may not be properly reported (Bhatt, et al., 2013). Therefore, researchers should take into account that some of their estimations about the prevalence of the Dengue fever may not be accurate.

Additionally, scholars should explain the cyclical nature of the disease outbreaks (Schmidt et al., 2011, p.8). In other words, one should explain why these outbreaks reach certain peaks at regular intervals. Furthermore, it is vital to explain the reasons why this disease spreads so rapidly. These are some of the main gaps that should be filled.

Review of studies on the determinants of disease

While examining the distribution and prevalence of the Dengue fever, researchers focus on several important aspects. For instance, they try to identify potential at-risk areas and estimate the burden of this disease. In this case, the term burden can be defined the number of people who may be infected (Bhatt, et al., 2013, p. 506).

According to their projections, approximately 390 million people can acquire this virulent disease (Bhatt, et al., 2013, p. 504). Among at-risk regions, one can distinguish Asia, Africa, and Oceania. According to them, poverty will be one of the factors that can contribute to the spread of this disease.

Additionally, one can refer to the study carried out by Schmidt et al. (2011) who pay attention to such a variable as availability of infrastructure, in particular, tap water supply.

Additionally, the researchers can focus on those cases when this diseases progress to Dengue Shock Syndrome which can threaten the life of a person (Figueiredo, et al., 2010). They pay attention to the role of such co-mortifies as diabetes and various allergies (Figueiredo, et al., 2010).

Another very important determinant is vector control. In this context, the term vector denotes any biological agent that transmits the disease (Guzman et al, 2010). In this case, one should speak about the mosquito named by Aedes aegypti.

The adoption of various insect control methods can be a factor that significantly reduces the risk of this disease.

The treatment and prevention of the Dengue disease

While discussing the screening and diagnosis of this disease, researchers focus on some of the key symptoms such as rash, headache, fever, and malaise (Guzman et al, 2010, p. 59). Additionally, they note that resuscitation can be critical for avoiding some of the complications that associated with the Dengue fever.

Nevertheless, one should keep in mind that there is no vaccine that can treat this disease. This is one of the challenges that should be considered. Additionally, the scholars lay stress on the documentation of cases because such precautions are important for surveillance and identification of potential outbreaks.

In turn, the prevention activities should be related to such areas as insect control and the development of infrastructure, especially tap water supply (Guzman et al, 2010; Schmidt et al., 2011). These are the main details that should be considered.

Areas for further research

One can distinguish several areas for further research. In particular, researchers should determine whether the education of patients about the risk of the Dengue fever can lead to the reduced prevalence of this disease.

If physicals and nurses work on this task, more patients will seek medical assistance, provided that they detect the sign of this disorder. Moreover, they will be more aware about the risks of using water containers where mosquitoes breed (Schmidt et al., 2011). As a result, the occurrences of this fever can be reduced significantly.

This is one of the hypotheses that should be tested.

Critical appraisal of available data

Overall, it is important to systematize data about the Dengue fever because researchers focus on disease outbreaks in countries that differ in terms of infrastructure, healthcare system, the degree of urbanization, and so forth (Bhatt, et al., 2013).

Additionally, one should focus on the way, in which the governments of different countries prevent in the spread of this disease. Researchers should identify the most effective strategies. Currently, this information is not available.

Reference List

Bhatt, S., Gething, P., Brady, O., Messina, J., Farlow, A., Moyes, C.,…Hay, (2013). The global distribution and burden of dengue. Nature, 497(20), 504-507.

Figueiredo, M., Rodrigues, L., Barreto, M., Lima, J., Costa, M., Morato, V.,… Teixeira, M. (2010). Allergies and Diabetes as Risk Factors for Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever: Results of a Case Control Study. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 4(6), 1-6.

Guzman, M., Halstead, S., Artsob, S., Buchy, P., Farrar, J., Gubler, D.,… Peeling, R. (2010). Dengue: a continuing global threat. Nature Reviews, 12(2), 7-16.

Schmidt, W., Suzuki, M., Thiem, V., White, R., Tsuzuki, A., Yoshida, A., Yanai, H.,… Ariyoshi, K. (2011). Population Density, Water Supply, and the Risk of Dengue Fever in Vietnam: Cohort Study and Spatial Analysis. PLoS Medicine, 8(9), 1-10.

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