What is DENV-2, the deadly dengue variant that is spreading fast; know symptoms, causes, treatment

Published on Oct 14, 2022 10:25 AM IST

DENV-2 has caused rapid surge in dengue fever and death cases in Panchkula, Haryana. Here's all you want to know about the deadly dengue variant from experts.

A newer variant of dengue, DENV-2 has been causing rapid surve in cases in variour cities (HT PHOTO)
A newer variant of dengue, DENV-2 has been causing rapid surve in cases in variour cities (HT PHOTO)
By, Delhi

DENV-2, the deadly dengue virus variant that is highly virulent and can cause symptoms of severe dengue, has been spreading fast in several parts of India since last few months. It is the same variant that has caused rapid surge in dengue fever and death cases in Panchkula, Haryana. Dengue is a viral infection that spreads through the bite of an infected mosquito, mostly Aedes species. While symptoms are usually mild from nausea, vomiting, aches and pains, sore throat, pain behind eyes among others, the severity also depends on the variant type a person has been infected with. DENV-2, if not treated, or in rare cases can cause deadly complications like dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS). Dengue is caused by a virus of the Flaviviridae family. There are four distinct, but closely related, serotypes of the virus that cause dengue namely - DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3 and DENV-4. We talked to some experts about DENV-2, the latest dengue variant, that is increasingly becoming a cause of worry for many. (Also read: Soaring platelet demand after spike in dengue cases)

"There are many cases of high-grade fever associated with dengue reported in many cities, and it is found that a newer variant of dengue, DENV-2 is the main culprit. There are multiple variants like DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3 and DENV-4. But it's DENV-2 which is considered to be very virulent, and can cause very severe symptoms," says Dr Sulaiman Ladhani, Consulting Chest Physician, Masina Hospital, Mumbai.

Talking about the symptoms of DENV-2, Dr Ladhani says, "Patient with this variant normally presents with high grade fever, vomiting, joint pains, and if not taken proper care or complications arise, then they may have altered sensorium and then may go into complications like haemorrhagic fever Dengue Shock Syndrome. These patients, if they were infected by one serotype in the past, can be infected by another serotype, and this may increase the chances of complications."

"While majority of dengue cases are asymptomatic or show mild symptoms, it can manifest as a severe, flu-like illness that affects infants, young children and adults, but seldom causes death. Symptoms usually last for 2–7 days, after an incubation period of 4–10 days after the bite from an infected mosquito," says Dr Laxman Jessani, Consultant, Infectious Disease, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai.

HOW DEADLY IS DENGUE DENV-2

Dr Aniket Mule, Consultant Internal Medicine, Wockhardt Hospitals Mira Road says DENV-2 is a matter of concern when compared to other dengue virus types and the seriousness increases further if people fail to seek timely intervention. Dr Mule warns that this variant can be life-threatening for a large number of people and that apart from causing fever and joint pain, DENV-2 has the capability to facilitate viral entry, and invite infamous dengue-shock syndrome or even dengue-haemorrhagic fever.

DENGUE DENV-2 MORE INFECTIOUS

"According to reports, DENV-2 is more easily spread than the other three serotypes and has a greater tendency to cause dengue haemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome. However, compared to secondary infections with the other three serotypes, secondary DENV-2 infection following the initial heterotypic infection is more likely to cause DHF and DSS," says Dr. Jeevan Aggarwal, Associate Director - Internal Medicine, Max Hospital Shalimar Bagh.

DENGUE DENV-2 TREATMENT

Experts say that timely treatment can help people infected with this deadly dengue variant recover fast.

"The treatment of dengue is based on symptomatic management. Although, serious cases and severely-ill patients will need hospitalization. But, many people tend to recover slowly and gradually if the symptoms are diagnosed at the right time. Timely treatment can help dengue patients to improve their quality of life. Do not take any symptoms lightly or neglect them as doing so can land you in trouble and can also cause organ failure. Delaying treatment can even lead to death. So, be attentive when it comes to your health," says Dr Mule.

"There is no specific treatment for dengue fever. Patients should rest, stay hydrated and seek medical advice. Depending on the clinical manifestations and other circumstances, patients may be sent home, be referred for in-hospital management, or require emergency treatment and urgent referral

Supportive care such as fever reducers and pain killers can be taken to control the symptoms of muscle aches and pains, and fever," says Dr Jessani.

TIPS TO RECOVER

Dr Ladhani says it's very important to rest, have proper hydration and take paracetamol in mild cases. "One should avoid anti-inflammatory and analgesics; the platelets and the counts should be monitored. And if fever is not under control, or if there are vulnerable groups, then immediate medical help should be sought to bring it under control and to prevent complications. Steps for mosquito prevention should be followed. That's the best way to keep away from danger."

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