What is Dengue?

Dengue is a viral infectious disease, which in most cases is transmitted by the bite of female Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. There is no person-to-person transmission.

The disease affects children, youth and adults in tropical and subtropical regions. Its symptoms manifest themselves between three to 14 days after the bite occurs, and may include fever, skin rashes and a feeling of general discomfort, with headaches and pain in the eye-sockets, muscles and joints. In most cases, patients develop what is called classic dengue, with no evident symptoms or only mild ones. These patients never fall ill from the same strand of the virus. But if the person is  bitten again by a mosquito carrying another strand of the virus, they can develop dengue hemorrhagic fever, a complication that occurs in 5% of cases, which mostly affects children and can lead to death. In endemic regions, there is a higher risk of subsequent infections and dengue hemorrhagic fever.

There are no antiviral drugs, vaccines or other treatments that are effective against dengue; thus the importance of prevention and early diagnosis. Preventing the disease requires controlling the mosquito and its breeding sites, both in public and private spaces. For decades, governments based their strategies on larvicides and insecticides, with discouraging results. Camino Verde is a preventive initiative that involves the community in research, analysing and discussing the evidence and carrying out measures that enhance the effect of the traditional strategies and may ultimately replace them.