The dengue vaccine has been one of the greatest advances in medicine. After more than 60 years of research on how to control or reduce the impact of this disease, in 2015, the first artificial immunization was achieved.
Dengue virus is one of the most widespread infections in the world. It is estimated that around 50 million human infections occur each year. This leads to around 25,000 deaths a year, mostly in Asia, Africa, and South America.
A dengue vaccine has begun to be used in these areas, which is where the risk of contracting the disease predominates. It is also used in people who are going to travel to these regions.
What is dengue virus infection?
Dengue is a disease caused by viruses that are part of the Flaviviridae family. Within this family, there are four different varieties, but very similar to each other, especially at the structural level.
The scientific name that these viruses receive is DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4. The fundamental fact is that the transmission happens through mosquitoes. That is, mosquitoes are carriers of the virus and vectors; when they bite a person, they inoculate particles.
Most of the cases are attributable to mosquitoes belonging to the Aedes aegypti species. Another species that can also produce it is A. albopictus. As we have noted before, the infection takes place, especially in Asia, Latin America and Africa.
This disease is endemic and epidemic. This means that it is typical of these areas and that it also affects many people in a certain place.
These mosquitoes can transmit other diseases, such as yellow fever. This represents an increased risk and a serious public health situation for the ministries of health in those areas. Few Healthy Steps For Having A Healthy Life
What is the clinic of the disease?
Dengue virus causes symptoms in 25% of those infected. The most frequent clinic is a feeling of general malaise with fever.
Furthermore, gastrointestinal signs such as nausea and vomiting may appear. There is often a skin rash or small bleeding, such as petechiae or bruising. They can even bleed the gums.
The problem is that about 1 in 20 infected people develop severe dengue. What happens is that the person goes into shock. It is characterized by the presence of severe bleeding, organ failures such as the liver, or difficulty breathing.
The risk of death in these cases is very high, so it is essential to act quickly. Furthermore, severe dengue can appear in any infected person, without too much distinction of age, sex or previous conditions.
Why is dengue vaccination important?
Dengue virus is transmitted only by the mosquito bite. This is important to emphasize since it is essential to remember that it is not transmitted by oral, sexual or respiratory routes.
When a person has been infected and manages to recover, they acquire immunity against the virus. However, as we have pointed out, there are four different varieties within the family. So that immunity only works for the specific virus that caused the infection.
That is why the dengue vaccine is so important. It is an immunization that was approved in December 2015, and that would be effective against the four different types of viruses.
What is the dengue vaccine-like?
This means that part of the virus is inoculated, but has reduced its ability to produce the infection as such. This stimulates the immune system to acquire activity against the particles.
The vaccine has begun to be recommended in areas endemic for the virus. It should be administered in people between 9 and 45 years old, for a total of three doses. The second is injected at 6 months and the third at 12 of the first.
The trials claim that dengue vaccine is effective in people who have been infected beforehand with the virus, which would be great news. However, there are reservations, and more time of use is needed to clarify its adverse effects and the ability to generate a long-term response.
For this reason, although it has meant a great advance, today its viability is still being studied to be indicated massively. The ideal is always to consult a specialist doctor, whether we are residents of a country with a circulation of the disease, or if we are going to travel there.