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Liver Involvement In Dengue Fever
With the prolonged monsoon season that we had this year, the Dengue Fever cases have been on a rise. Dengue fever is a viral disease transmitted by a vector known as Aedes mosquito. The weather in Ahmedabad being warm and with humidity provided by the prolonged monsoon has resulted in Aedes getting multiple breeding sites.It is a self-limiting condition for which no specific treatment is available and the trials on vaccination to prevent are just coming out. It is the most rapidly spreading mosquito borne disease in the world.
Most of the cases of dengue fever behave like a routine viral illness where the patient develops fever with flu like symptoms – body ache, headache, joint pains, malaise, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. With supportive care, these symptoms subside in a period of few days and the disease leaves without any long term sequel.
Affection Liver by the virus is an important aspect of the disease. Most of the time, it causes a rise in Transaminases – ALT (SGPT) and AST (SGOT) but may lead to elevations in serum bilirubin and derangements in serum albumin. All these derangements normalize over a period of a week and there is no permanent damage to liver. However, Dengue can lead to development of AcuteLiverFailure. Liver failure is found to be more common in children and young adults. It is a life threatening condition. As it is a multi-system disease, liver transplant is not an option for these patients. Those who develop liver failure and have involvement of other organs as well, the outcome is not good and requires a good intensive care management for survival. If anybody is already suffering from liver disease, dengue can cause worsening of that liver disease and can unmask the disease in individuals who are not aware of their liver disease.
Liver involvement in Dengue fever is quite common and can vary from mild asymptomatic abnormalities of biochemistries to fulminant liver failure. No tests can predict development of liver failure and hence being aware about the possibility and getting timely treatment is of utmost importance
Consultant Hepatologist & Liver Transplant Physician MD.DM Gold Medalist Fellowship in Hepatology & Liver Transplant (U.K.) Fellowship in Liver Intensive Care (U.K.)
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