Pan Am Health questions dengue treatment
Popular misconceptions surrounding dengue are now mentioned as some of the reasons for this year’s high death rate, now at 96. A change in the way patients are treated could make a difference.
One of these myths is to wait for lab results to make the diagnosis, such as low platelets, forgetting that dengue is purely clinical. Other issues are confusing the disease with pneumonia, leptospirosis, malaria or tonsillitis and continuing the use of acetaminophen.
The myths were described by Dr. Anabel Alfaro, a specialist from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), who gave her insights based on the results of a study that shows that the number of platelets is not the fundamental indication of seriousness in the diagnosis of dengue.
She said that when a patient has symptoms like stomach pain, irritability, vomiting, sleepiness, or a bloody nose, besides the fever, this is a sign that the patient is going into a hypovolemic shock, the life-threatening condition in which severe blood and fluid loss make the heart unable to pump enough blood to the body.
Alfaro gave a talk on “Dengue Treatment: lessons learned in the Americas region” during a meeting held to update doctors on the treatment of dengue and cholera in the Dominican Republic organized by the Ministry of Public Health, PAHO and WHO. Members of the Dominican societies of Infectology, Pediatrics and Internal Medicine took part in the event, together with public hospital directors and medical faculty representatives from the country’s universities.
According to Alfaro, a general practitioner can effectively treat dengue and they only need to be alert to the clinical signs that indicate when a patient can fall into an emergency condition and not depend on the platelet count. She says that the fact that most of the dengue cases in the country present obvious warning signs is an advantage for the Dominican doctor. Patients should not be allowed to go into shock.
Category: DR News |