Zika and Dengue Virus: How Serious Are They and What Are Their Similarities?

It is dengue Singapore 2022 season. After the rain, the time is ripe for mosquitoes to breed. Are you wondering where the Dengue cluster Singapore 2022 is? Do you know about the Zika virus 2022? Is Dengue contagious? This article will clear your Dengue and Zika virus-related queries.


What is Dengue Virus?

test tube with the word dengue

Dengue is caused by a virus found in infected mosquitoes. Not all mosquitoes carry this virus. Only the Aedes species can spread the Dengue virus. This mosquito species may also carry chikungunya, Zika, and other viruses.

  • Roughly 4 billion people in the world live in mosquito-infested regions. This means, that almost half of the entire human population is at risk of contracting Dengue. Among the various viruses spread by mosquitoes, Malaria and Dengue have a greater risk of infection.
  • As per statistics, 400 million people across the globe fall victim to the Dengue virus every year. Out of this, nearly 40,000 patients succumb to the disease and die.
  • Interestingly, Dengue itself has four variants – Viruses one, two, three, and four. This means an individual can fall ill with Dengue four times in their lifetime.


What is Zika Virus?

ZIKA virus

The Zika virus shares many similarities with other mosquito bite-related diseases like yellow fever, West Nile virus, and Dengue. Just like Dengue, the carrier of Zika virus is the infamous Aedes aegypti species. A bite from this infected mosquito can put you at risk for a host of problems.


What makes the Zika virus more complex is its mode of transmission. For instance, a pregnant woman infected with the virus can transmit it to her unborn child. Zika virus may lead to developmental abnormalities in the foetus. In fact, the virus can also spread sexually.

  • In 1947, Uganda became the first country to report Zika virus cases. However, it was in 2015 when a Zika outbreak occurred in the United States of America.
  • Zika virus has mild symptoms, rarely requiring the need for hospitalization. Only 20% of cases show signs of sickness.
  • To diagnose a patient with the Zika virus, a blood test is required.
  • At present, there are no preventive vaccines or treatments for the Zika virus.


What are the similarities between Zika and Dengue Virus?

Many people get confused between the Zika and Dengue virus. Patients suffering from either virus display similar symptoms. In addition to that, it is the infected Aedes species (Ae. albopictus or Ae. aegypti) that spread these viruses by biting humans for blood.


This section will explore the similarities and differences between Dengue and Zika virus.


- Transmission

aedes mosquito on skin

As mentioned previously, both Zika and Dengue viruses can be found in the Aedes mosquito species. When it comes to the mode of transmission, both viruses again share some similarities.

  • You can contract Dengue if an infected mosquito bites you. However, the virus is capable of spreading from human to human in case of pregnancy. An infected pregnant woman can transmit Dengue to her unborn child.
  • Although very rare, Dengue can spread through infected needles and blood transfusion as well.
  • Mosquito bites can spread the Zika virus in the same manner. Similar to Dengue, a pregnant woman can transmit the virus to her unborn child.
  • However, unlike Dengue you can get Zika virus through sexual intercourse. Whether vaginal or anal, if your partner has Zika virus it can transmit to you through sexual activity. There is no need to panic since the cases of sexual transmission are generally low.


- Symptoms

the word symptoms

Dengue and Zika virus share many common symptoms. This is the reason many patients confuse Zika or Dengue infection with common viral fever. However, the severity of the symptoms of Dengue and Zika virus varies greatly.

  • One of the Dengue symptoms rashes can also be observed in Zika virus patients. Apart from this, both Dengue and Zika virus patients show symptoms like – joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis, fever, nausea, vomiting, and headaches.
  • When it comes to the Zika virus, Zika symptoms are often mild. In fact, only one out of five Zika patients shows any serious symptoms of sickness. Most patients do not require any medical supervision.
  • On the other hand, Dengue can be fatal to patients. In the extreme case, Dengue results in hemorrhagic fever which results in bruising and internal bleeding. This could lead to a patient’s death. Therefore, Dengue patients often need to be hospitalized and kept under medical care.
  • Zika virus which spreads from a mother to her unborn child can lead to microcephaly. This is a medical condition where an infant’s head is much smaller in proportion to its body. Usually, microcephaly results from incomplete brain development when the child is still inside the womb.
  • Dengue virus is also capable of spreading from a mother to her child. But the virus is not known to cause any birth anomalies like microcephaly.


- Treatment

3 doctors looking

Like most viral infections, there are no treatments available for Dengue and Zika virus. Your body must develop immunity on its own to combat the virus. However, there are steps you can take to relieve the symptoms.

  • For Dengue treatment, you can take medicines to control your fever and body pain. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in the US advises not to take ibuprofen and aspirin.
  • If you have mild symptoms, you can rest at home.
  • In case of severe Dengue symptoms, hospitalization is necessary. Severe Dengue can result in internal bleeding which could take your life.
  • For Zika treatment, a simple medicine to reduce fever will keep your symptoms in check. If you need to take anti-inflammatory medicine, wait till you are certain you do not have Dengue.
  • Most Zika virus patients can treat themselves at home comfortably. Severe symptoms are rare. However, if you experience high fever and extreme body aches for prolonged periods, do visit your local healthcare provider.


- Recovery

recovery highlighted

Your body will fight the Dengue and Zika virus on its own. It just needs time.

  • Sleep as much as you can. Your body needs the energy to ward off the viruses.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Include fruit juices or fluids with electrolytes in your diet.
  • Dengue recovery time is about 2 to 7 days. Most patients recover from Dengue in over a week. The same applies to Zika virus infection.
  • After recovering, consume a balanced diet of whole and fresh foods to build up your immunity. Do not engage in stressful activities immediately.


When should you see a doctor for suspected Dengue or Zika Virus?

consulting a doctor

When it comes to the Zika virus, hospitalization is rarely required. Most patients show mild symptoms which get better on their own in a few days. However, you may have to visit the laboratory to get tested.


Dengue virus may need more attention. When in doubt get the Dengue blood test done immediately to ascertain your cause of fever. Usually, your doctor will recommend the test if you visit the hospital during Dengue season.


How long Dengue fever last, will depend on the individual. Some patients suffer from severe symptoms which need immediate hospitalization. Otherwise, they may bleed due to hemorrhage.

 wistech's kf94 mask promotion

While visiting a hospital or clinic, it is best to wear a face mask. As your body combats the Dengue or Zika virus, your immunity will become low and vulnerable to other infections. To ensure you stay protected, go for good KN95 masks or KF94 masks.


Where are Dengue or Zika hotspots in Singapore?

singapore map

Prevention is always better than cure. The best way to ensure you do not get infected with either Dengue or Zika virus is to avoid Dengue hotspot Singapore.


As of August, the Dengue cases in Singapore 2022 stand at 194 active clusters77 out of the two clusters appear in the red zone, that is, with 10 Dengue cases or more.

  • Red Cluster (10 cases or more) – Red cluster areas include places like Angora CI, Barbary Walk, Alexandra Rd, Stirling Rd, Shepherds Dr, Boon Lay Avenue, Clementi West, and more.
  • Yellow Cluster (Fewer than 10 cases) – Includes areas like Ang Mo Kio Avenue, Kensington Park Drive, Old Choa Chu Kang Rd, Jurong East St, and more.
  • Green Cluster (No new cases in the last 21 days) – Currently no green clusters exist in Singapore.   


How to prevent Aedes mosquito and Zika mosquito from breeding?

emptying a bucket of water

It is not enough to use mosquito repellents to combat the spread of Aedes mosquitoes. To prevent mosquitoes from breeding community action is necessary. Take the following steps to get rid of these dangerous insects –

  • Prevent water stagnation because mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water. Clean the rain gutters, mop up any puddles on the ground and empty any container with water in it.
  • Close the garbage can lids properly. Ensure that no water enters the garbage bin.
  • If you have plant holders, replace the water in them regularly.
  • In case of any dripping faucets, ensure they get repaired immediately.
  • Use lemongrass reed diffusers to prevent Dengue and Zika mosquitos from entering your home.

 Is Dengue Virus and Zika Virus as serious as Covid-19

injection on the left, aedes mosquito on the right

No, Dengue and Zika virus are not as dangerous as Covid-19. For instance, Dengue and Zika do not spread through air droplets. That means, they cannot transmit as fast as Covid-19 and cause a pandemic.

However, during peak Dengue season get a Dengue test in Singapore if you have a fever. Follow the Covid-19 safety protocol as usual. Try this 3-ply surgical mask for effective safety. You can also buy masks for kids for protection.

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