Dengue during delivery can put baby at risk

Updated - November 01, 2016 09:32 pm IST

Published - September 28, 2016 12:00 am IST

When it comes to vector-borne diseases like dengue, prevention is better than cure, especially for pregnant women. Though dengue virus can cause a severe form of disease in pregnant women, it is comparatively rare. But women who get the disease right at the time of delivery can pass the virus on to the baby.

Gynaecologist of Rainbow Hospital for Women and Children Manu Jasti says that the warning signals of severe dengue can appear any time between three and seven days after the onset of fever. The warning signals can vary from intense abdominal pain to bloody vomiting, bleeding gums, blood in urine or increase in the speed of breathing. But the signal to look out for is cold clammy skin, an indication that may appear harmless. This signal heralds Dengue Shock which results in circulatory collapse, says Dr. Manu.

Dr. Manu cites a routine case: “Mrs Priya (name changed) in her eighth month of pregnancy reached hospital with certain symptoms that pointed towards dengue and was diagnosed with dengue fever. She had developed a measles type of rash and low platelet count. Ultrasound scan of her baby showed all was well with a slight drop in liquor levels (the water surrounding the body in the womb). She was encouraged to drink plenty of fluids and given supportive treatment with intravenous fluids and Paracetamol (drug that reduces fever). She and her baby were monitored continuously and every day her platelet count was checked. Platelet count dropped for a few days and then started slowly to rise. The patient was discharged soon and followed with weekly antenatal checks. She came in spontaneous labour and delivered a healthy female child with birth weight of 2.9kg.”

“Prevent mosquito bites”

Most people recover within two weeks and the body fights the disease on its own. Women who get dengue just at the time of delivery can pass the disease on to their babies. Prevent dengue by preventing mosquito bites, she says and adds that there appears to be a silver lining on the horizon in the form of a promising dengue vaccine which is yet to be approved for use in our country.

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