Story of Twin Brothers - Dengue & Chikungunya

Though Dengue vaccine has arrived on the horizon, it should not be looked as panacea for our Dengue menace


Heartthrob of millions Vidya Balan is down with Dengue and the mosquito from the swimming pool of Shahid Kappor is the real culprit for it. Interesting stuff for a news story with commendable TRP. Nowadays, Dengue is in the news for one or the other reasons. Dengue & Chikungunya are twin brothers sharing one & the same vehicle for their travel. Every year shortly after beginning of monsoon showers, we experience rise in Dengue cases & it occupies coveted place in news headlines, making every other news less important. After their first appearance during 1960s, these twin brothers were almost missing. That is why their reemergence story reminds Manmohan Desai's lost & found Bollywood story in 1980s.

History of Dengue
World War II has played a vital role in expanding Dengue affected areas. Allied forces might have defeated Germany & Japan; but the real victorious was Dengue virus. Prior to World War II, dengue viruses had a global distribution in the tropics, but as urbanization was quite minimal and the viruses and mosquito vectors was dependent on ocean going vessels for transportation among regions, epidemics were sporadic & that too with long intervals between them. That is why, prior to second World War, Dengue fever was not considered a major public health problem.
During World War II, while in Asiatic region, thousands of soldiers from both the sides were affected by Dengue & Malaria. Troop movement & transport of war material has facilitated transportation of Dengue virus & its vector Aedes aegypti to most countries of both the regions.

World War II was followed by emphatic economical growth of SE Asia which was vital in the unprecedented urban growth that began in the 1950s and continues today. During this period, first documented epidemics of dengue occurred in the Philippines (1953-1954) and Thailand (1958), Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam (1960s) and Indonesia and Myanmar(1970s).

In India, first epidemic of Dengue was reported from Chennai (Madras) in 1780. But 1964's Kolkata epidemic is the first virologically proved Dengue outbreak of Modern India.

Current Status
As per WHO, "The incidence of dengue has grown dramatically around the world in recent decades. The actual numbers of dengue cases are underreported and many cases are misclassified. One recent estimate indicates 390 million dengue infections per year, of which 96 million manifest clinically (with any severity of disease). Another study, of the prevalence of dengue, estimates that 3.9 billion people, in 128 countries, are at risk of infection with dengue viruses

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