General Practice 2022

Dengue, Zika or Chikungunya: what's the difference?

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Dengue, Zika or Chikungunya: what's the difference?
Dengue, Zika or Chikungunya: what's the difference?

Dengue is an infectious disease caused by a virus transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito that leads to the appearance of some signs and symptoms, which can last between 2 and 7 days, such as body pain, headache and tiredness, whose intensity may vary from person to person. In addition, it is possible to verify in dengue the presence of red spots on the skin, fever, joint pain, itching and, in the most severe cases, bleeding.

The symptoms of dengue, however, are similar to those of other diseases, such as Zika, Chikungunya and Mayaro, which are also diseases caused by viruses transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, in addition to being similar to the symptoms of the virus, measles and hepatitis. Therefore, in the presence of symptoms suggestive of dengue, it is important that the person goes to the hospital for tests to be carried out and to verify if it really is dengue or another disease, and the most appropriate treatment is initiated.

Learn to recognize the symptoms of dengue.

Some of the diseases whose symptoms can be similar to dengue are:

1. Zika or Dengue?

Zika is also a disease that can be transmitted by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which in this case transmits the Zika virus to the person. In the case of Zika, in addition to the symptoms of dengue, redness in the eyes and pain around the eyes can also be seen.

The symptoms of Zika are milder than those of dengue and last for less time, about 5 days, however infection with this virus is associated with serious complications, especially when it happens during pregnancy, and can cause microcephaly, neurological alterations and Guillain-Barré syndrome, in which the nervous system starts to attack the organism itself, mainly the nerve cells.

2. Chikungunya or Dengue?

Like dengue and Zika, Chikungunya is also caused by the bite of Aedes aegypti infected by the virus that causes the disease. However, unlike these two other diseases, the symptoms of Chikungunya are more prolonged, lasting for more or less 15 days, and loss of appetite and malaise can also be observed, in addition to being able to cause neurological changes and Guillain-Syndrome. Barré.

It is also common for joint symptoms of Chikungunya to last for months, and physiotherapy is recommended to relieve symptoms and improve joint movement. Learn how to identify Chikungunya.

3. Mayaro or Dengue?

Mayaro virus infection is difficult to identify due to the similarity of symptoms to dengue, Zika and Chikungunya. The symptoms of this infection can also last for about 15 days and, unlike dengue, there are no red spots on the skin, but swelling of the joints.So far the complication related to infection by this virus has been inflammation in the brain, called encephalitis. Understand what a Mayaro infection is and how to recognize the symptoms.

4. Virus or Dengue?

The virus can be defined as any disease caused by a virus, however, unlike dengue, its symptoms are milder and the infection can be easily fought by the body. The main signs and symptoms of the virus are low-grade fever, loss of appetite and body aches, which can make a person more tired.

When it comes to a virus, it is common to see several other people, especially those who usually frequent the same environment, with the same signs and symptoms.

5. Yellow Fever or Dengue?

Yellow fever is an infectious disease caused by the bite of both Aedes aegypti and the bite of the Haemagogus Sabethes mosquito, which can lead to symptoms similar to dengue, such as headache, fever and muscle pain.

However, the initial symptoms of yellow fever and dengue are different: while in the initial phase of yellow fever vomiting and back pain are observed, in dengue there is general fatigue. In addition, in yellow fever, the person develops jaundice, which is when the skin and eyes turn yellow.

6. Measles or Dengue?

Both dengue and measles present as a symptom the presence of spots on the skin, however the spots in the case of measles are larger and do not itch. In addition, as measles progresses, other characteristic symptoms appear, such as sore throat, dry cough and white spots inside the mouth, in addition to fever, muscle pain and excessive tiredness.

7. Hepatitis or Dengue?

The initial symptoms of hepatitis can also be confused with dengue, however it is also common that in hepatitis symptoms indicative of liver involvement are soon noticed, which does not happen in dengue, with a change in the color of the urine, skin and faeces.See how to identify the main symptoms of hepatitis.

What to say to the doctor to help diagnose

When the person has symptoms such as fever, muscle pain, weakness and tiredness, they should go to the doctor to find out what is happening. In the clinical consultation it is important to give details such as:

  • Symptoms presented, highlighting their intensity, frequency and order of appearance;
  • Where do you live and last frequented places because at the time of dengue epidemic you should check if you were close to the places with the most recorded cases of the disease;
  • Similar cases in the family and/or neighbors;
  • When symptoms appeared because if symptoms appeared after a meal, it could indicate an intestinal infection, for example.

Telling if you have had these symptoms before and if you have taken any medication can also help in the diagnosis of which disease it is, facilitating the request for exams and the most appropriate treatment for each case.

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