New Delhi: The death of 80-year-old legendary Bollywood director Yash Chopra from dengue has once again highlighted that the vector disease is not only a poor man`s illness. All income classes are vulnerable."Dengue can be fatal, particularly for children and the elderly who are low on immunity," K.K. Chaudhary, health officer, East Delhi Municipal Corporation, told IANS.Experts say dengue fever usually starts within a week of the infection. Symptoms include high fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, pain in the joints and muscles, nausea and vomiting, and rashes on the skin."It can happen to anyone. It is a dangerous disease and needs to be diagnosed and treated early," said A.K. Bansal, health officer, North Delhi Municipal Corporation.Doctors say dengue causes death by setting off failure of organ systems, once the disease becomes critical."A capillary (smallest of blood vessels) leak allows the blood to go outside the vessels, and consequently the blood pressure lowers on the sixth or seventh day of dengue. So, in children and elderly who have contracted dengue, monitoring of blood pressure becomes crucial," says Vineet Jain, general physician, Smile Clinic, east Delhi.Suranjit Chatterjee, senior consultant, Internal Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, says there is no need to panic at the diagnosis of dengue. "Ninety-nine percent of patients diagnosed with dengue do not die. There are those who think that any diagnosis of dengue means death, but most of the time patients do not die," Chatterjee says.He also said that multiple organ failure happens when there is low blood pressure."When low blood pressure happens, the transfer rate of blood to different organs, like liver, reduces. As a result, it leads to the death of the patient," Chatterjee added.There are three types of dengue fever: the typical uncomplicated dengue fever; dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHS), where the patient bleeds from the nose, gums or under the skin as is found generally in elderly people; and dengue shock syndrome (DSS), in which fluid leaks outside blood vessels, causing massive bleeding and shock -- this form of the disease is fatal in children.
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