Santo Domingo.- The clinical symptoms of dengue can be confused with other diseases ranging from leptospirosis to hepatitis, which is why it is important to perform a comprehensive medical evaluation of the patient and laboratory tests.
This is what the infectologist Elianet Castillo, from the Centro Médico de Diabetes, Obesidad y Especialidades (CEMDOE) warns when referring to the current epidemic outbreak of dengue that is affecting the country and that is leading to a high demand for medical attention.
The specialist explained that it is important to know that dengue is characterized by symptoms of fever, headache, retro ocular pain, general malaise, rash, joint pain and muscle pain.
These symptoms and signs, he said, can be confused with other diseases that are also part of the country’s local epidemiology, such as malaria, chikungunya, zika and leptospirosis,” he explained.
He explained that when the patient with dengue presents alarm signs such as nausea, persistent vomiting and abdominal pain it could represent a challenge because it could also be confused with other infectious diseases affecting the gastrointestinal system such as hepatitis or inflammation of specific organs such as the gall bladder (cholecystitis) and the appendix (appendicitis).
Malaria and Leptospirosis
Castillo pointed out that in the case of malaria, chikungunya and zika, they also present with fever. “Generally, compared to dengue, they do not cause as many alterations at the hematological level and do not usually cause as much morbi-mortality.”
He said that leptospirosis, which usually increases its incidence after heavy rains and floods, can present symptoms very similar to dengue, and being a bacterial disease requires treatment with antibiotics to prevent progression to its terminal stage called Weil’s syndrome where severe kidney and liver damage occurs, reaching a 50% mortality rate.
This shows, added the specialist, the importance of a comprehensive medical evaluation and the performance of the necessary laboratories to reach an accurate diagnosis and thus speed up the appropriate treatment of the patient.