Expert Talk: Why Dengue Virus Affect Blood Platelets

Mosquito related illnesses pose a great challenge during the rainy season. Read ahead to know the effect of dengue fever on blood platelets.

Tanya Srivastava
Written by: Tanya SrivastavaPublished at: Aug 08, 2022Updated at: Aug 08, 2022
Expert Talk: Why Dengue Virus Affect Blood Platelets

Mosquito related illnesses pose a great challenge during the rainy season, and with the monsoons setting in, the risk of dengue fever is high. Dengue virus is a vector-borne disease acquired by infected female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes which is also responsible for zika virus, yellow fever and Chikungunya fever. The infected mosquito transmits the virus from human to human and has an incubation period of four to six days after which viremia sets in causing high grade fever. 

Symptoms Of Dengue

In an exclusive interaction with Onlymyhealth, Dr. V.Ashwin Karuppan, M.D Consultant, Internal Medicine & Infectious Disease, Gleneagles Global Health City, Chennai elucidates that dengue is often called  "breakbone fever" because it causes severe joint pains, muscle aches and vomiting. The classical symptoms of dengue is retro-orbital pain (behind the eyes) causing headache, nausea, and vomiting. Bleeding from gums, upper gastrointestinal bleeds, and rashes from low platelets count are typical of dengue fever. The mosquito is a daytime feeder and has interrupted feeding patterns leading to infection of multiple humans in a short distance, this explains the reason for the geographical distribution of the disease. 

Phases Of Dengue Fever 

Clinical manifestation can be in three stages: Febrile Phase, Critical Phase, and Recovery Phase. During the febrile phase there is a sudden onset of high-grade fever with severe body pain, retro orbital eye pain, and headache. Febrile phase can last for three to seven days following which the patient recovers and fever ablates. 

Critical phase lasts for about two to three days during which the classical fall in platelets is seen in blood counts, capillary leak, and in a few patients can lead to hemorrhagic features such as bleeding gums, internal bleeding, and respiratory failure, which are the hallmark of severe dengue infection called Dengue Hemorrhagic Syndrome. DHS affects less than one per cent of the population and majority infection transits into recovery phase, end of the infection through immune clearance.

Also read: Why Lung Cancer Common In Younger People

 Effect Of Dengue Fever On Blood Platelets

Effect Of Dengue Fever On Blood Platelets

The hallmark reduction in platelets count is due to multiple factors including bone marrow suppression and platelets destruction. Platelets absorb dengue virions or virus antibody immune complexes to its surface there by attracting the immune response of our body leading to massive destruction. 

The life span of infected platelets is also shortened leading to increased destruction and slow regeneration due to bone marrow suppression causing the sudden drop in platelets count. There is no need for platelets transfusion unless signs of bleeding are evident and usually recovers within 24-48 hours. 

Dengue infection can be prevented by eliminating mosquito breeding sites in and around houses, wearing full sleeves shirts and long pants, using mosquito repellents and closing doors and windows during the evening to prevent mosquitoes. Dengue vaccines are available and approved in other parts of the world, due to its complexity the search for the ideal vaccine is still under research. Let’s be safe and secure this monsoon season and keep mosquitos at bay. 

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