Dengue Fever has swept through India and is beginning to creep its way around the globe placing thousands in hospital care and resulting in a life-threatening situation for many. India has locations throughout the country with an abundance of standing water allowing this mosquito-borne virus to thrive and grow at a dangerous rate.
In 2015, Delhi, India, recorded its worst outbreak since 2006 with over 15 000 cases. Although this reported number is already shockingly high, tropical disease experts say that this number is only a conservative estimate of the true number of outbreaks of Dengue Fever in India. Hospitals throughout India are overrun with patients experiencing the brunt of this illness resulting in new arrivals having to use make-shift mats or share available beds.
Those who are affected by Dengue Fever experience symptoms similar to those of the flu including high fever, vomiting, muscle, and joint aches, severe headache, a rash, and bleeding nose or gums. The illness usually passes in approximately two weeks but can leave an infected body feeling fatigued for months. Only about 1 percent of Dengue Fever cases result in death.
One in six tourists this year will have contracted Dengue Fever in India, according to World Health Organization officials. Twenty years ago this number was only one out of every 50 tourists.
This virus is spreading and popping up in other locations around the world besides India. On October 9 in Puerto Rico, almost 5,000 people contacted the illness resulting in six deaths. There was also a confirmed case of Dengue Fever in Miami, Florida the same month.
India has been working to get this virus under control by conducting regular pesticide sprayings and working towards creating a vaccine. However, tropical disease expert Dr. Scott Halstead says it could take 10 to 12 years before an effective vaccine is established.