Early medical help essential in treating dengue

Mr Ang Yong Han has become the first in Singapore to die from dengue this year, as the epidemic infection crosses the 8,000 figure.
PHOTO: Early medical help essential in treating dengue

SINGAPORE - Even when dengue takes a turn for the worse, there are ways to prevent the person from dying - but early medical help is essential, according to infectious disease specialist Asok Kurup.

Dengue haemorrhagic fever, a severe form of the mosquito- borne disease, can kill because it leads to internal bleeding.

Others may die of dengue shock syndrome - when blood pressure dips too low and causes organs to shut down.

In such cases, a patient can be helped by receiving blood transfusions and hydration. "It is essential that patients get early medical help so they can be adequately monitored. If the situation were to deteriorate, appropriate action can be taken without further delay," said Dr Kurup, who runs a private practice at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre.

Dengue haemorrhagic fever is rare, with 30 cases here last year compared to 4,602 cases of regular dengue, Health Ministry figures show. Warning signs are blood in vomit, rapid breathing and bleeding gums.

Last month, personal assistant Sharan Kaur Sahdev, 29, was rushed to hospital with dengue haemorrhagic fever.

She had two blood platelet trans- fusions to make her blood clot normally and she recovered.

"I am so grateful that the doctors acted very quickly," she said.

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