Dengue in India — By Jennifer Shipp
Asia India South Asia Tips

Dengue in India — By Jennifer Shipp

A newspaper article in Delhi talks about Dengue Fever vaccine trials.

As we flew into Delhi on August 8th, I read about the outbreak of Dengue Fever happening in Delhi this year. I’d expected problems like Dengue in the south while we were in the state of Tamil Nadu in  Chennai. Before traveling there, I’d expected Chennai to be fairly “wet” and humid. I figured that mosquitos would be more of a problem in the south than in Delhi, but apparently, I was wrong.

I was so convinced that mosquito-borne diseases would not be a problem in Delhi that I packed all the DEET in our checked bags. I have since pulled it back out again and we’re lotioning and spraying ourselves religiously with an assortment of products. My favorite is the “Ultra-thon” 12 hour lotion. Each day, we shower with Neem soap, which seems to work pretty well at warding off mosquitos throughout the day, we put lotion on twice and day, and wear deet spray whenever we go on outings into the city.

In the Delhi-based newspaper on the plane, I read about a Dengue vaccine that was going through trials in several countries. I had no idea that such a vaccine had been developed. The last time I did research on Dengue, no such vaccine existed. Apparently, it wasn’t up to par for the Indian government because it only boasted an effectiveness rate of 40%.

Dengue, also known as “Break-Bone Fever” is a problem in a number of tropical countries including India. The first time you catch it, you may not even notice. You might feel sort of low, but it won’t necessarily make you really sick. It’s the second time that you catch Dengue that it poses a problem. People get feverish and utterly achy. People describe the yuck as feeling like their bones are breaking (thus the colloquial “break bone fever” designation) It’s unpleasant to say the least. Several years ago, I met a fellow online who was promoting the use of papaya leaf extract for the treatment of Dengue fever. I’d read about papaya leaf extract too. We met because I’d written some things about dengue, malaria,and neem leaf. According to a variety of sources, including the Times of India, the extract (or tea) helps the body produce platelets which can become important if the dengue infection progresses to hemorrhagic fever.

Hemorrhagic fevers are generally to be avoided. Yellow fever, Ebola, and Dengue are all hemorrhagic in that a person infected with any of these may start bleeding internally and through their skin. There’s no cure for Dengue once a person contracts it. At the hospital, they’ll simply attempt to keep a Dengue patient hydrated and comfortable. But papaya leaf extract or tea could turn the tide for someone suffering from hemorrhagic Dengue. It’s a good thing to have on hand if you’re traveling in countries where Dengue is endemic. Drink a few cups of the tea each day. Some even say it cures cancer (so why not try it?) Nurses and doctors in westernized health facilities don’t necessarily know about the benefits of papaya leaf extract because they’re mostly only knowledgeable about synthetically produced drugs that have been patented by pharmaceutical companies.

If you develop a strange fever, with pain in the bones, joints, or muscles, loss of appetite, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, and a red, spotty rash, suspect Dengue. A headache or sore throat are also common. Be sure to get to a hospital as soon as possible to receive fluids and start drinking copious amounts of papaya tea (or take papaya leaf extract) if you think you have Dengue fever. Most people survive the disease, but they never forget it!

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