The All India Institute of medical science has concluded in a study that individuals affected by dengue may not exhibit any signs of fever.
In a rather alarming revelation, the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) has published a case study whereby a 50-year-old individual complained of chronic fatigue without exhibiting any signs of fever. The doctors had to seek blood test reports to further investigate the matter.
The reports revealed an uncontrolled level of blood glucose, high blood acidity and critically low count of blood cells. In a desperate attempt to get answers the doctors tested the patient for dengue. The test bore positive result when the blood was tested for the NS1 antigen (a preliminary test for dengue virus) and the results were further affirmed with the detailed (RT-PCR) test for the dengue virus.
In the Journal of Association of Physicians of India, the AIIMS doctor who worked on the study said “…in an endemic area, dengue should always be kept as an important differential diagnosis in patients with leucopenia (low white cell count) and severe thrombocytopenia (low platelet count), even in the absence of fever. Especially during periods of the outbreak.”
The doctors further added that the patients who have are diabetic, old or have contracted an immunity compromising disease have a greater chance of not showing signs of fever.
Dr. Rommel Tickoo, a senior consultant at the Max Super Speciality Hospital added that patients who have undergone organ transplants or have been subjected to chemotherapy or other strong immune system compromising conditions are much more likely to exhibit the aforementioned signs.
He said, “I have come across at least two to three such cases in the last few months. Such patients present with general weakness, low blood pressure and low platelet count. Dengue test is needed if there is no other explanation for the symptoms, especially in outbreak period.”
Another senior consultant, Dr. Suranjit Chatterjee, from the internal medicine department at Apollo medical facilities said that he had not come across this rare condition where the patient is not feverish but has tested positive for dengue virus. But Dr. Chatterjee went on to add that he thought that the notion was very much possible.
Another independent study from Thailand showed that among the reported cases of this disease in Thailand more than 20% were afebrile (showed no signs of fever) but had other dengue-related symptoms. Severe dengue is one of the major causes of death among the newborns and children in Latin American countries and Asian countries.
Dengue is a rapidly spreading disease with around 390 million reported infections in a year. It can be fatal and is responsible for more than 25000 deaths worldwide annually. Another study shows that around 3.9 billion in 128 countries have greater chances of developing an infection by dengue viruses.
While trends show that tropical areas are more affected by dengue as the virus is carried by mosquitoes, this breakthrough in the detection of the virus will prove fruitful in controlling the disease and to save will help in saving countless lives throughout the globe.