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Oropouche fever: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About oropouche fever

Oropouche fever is a mosquito borne, tropical disease that manifests itself in epidemics rather than occurring as single case. It is an illness characterised by fever and other symptoms simulating dengue fever. Oropouche fever is named after the Oropouche River in Trinidad and Tobago.

Oropouche fever: Incidence, age and sex

Large epidemics of oropouche fever have commonly occurred in the past. In the Brazilian Amazon, oropouche is the second most frequent viral disease, after dengue fever. At present it is only in Brazil and it is estimated that more than half a million cases have been documented.

Signs and symptoms of oropouche fever: Diagnosis

After the infected mosquito bite, the incubation period or the time when one sees the first signs of infection, is typically around 3- 8 days although it could be as late as 12 days. Fever is most common with high-grade temperatures often up to 104o F accompanied by severe headaches, body ache, and extreme sensitivity to light. This also may be accompanied by nausea, diarrhoea, abdominal cramping, bronchitis, and burning sensation - all over the body.

While oropouche fever lasts for about a week, recovery time is slow. Fortunately, it is not a fatal disease, except that there is a lot of distress to the affected individual.

Causes and prevention of oropouche fever

The disease is caused by a virus called oropouche virus and is afflicted by the bite of mosquitoes as or a particular type of fly named ‘midge’.

Oropouche fever usually occurs in epidemics, so chances are rare that one may bring home the illness after visiting one of the areas where the midge fly or the mosquitoes live. But by checking into the area before leaving for the oropouche fever endemic areas, one can prepare in advance.

Should one need to travel to these areas, they should be prepared to protect themselves against mosquitoes and biting midge flies. The liberal use of a mosquito and insect repellent is wise as is wearing clothes which fully cover the body. Mosquito net is also advised for sleeping areas.

Oropouche fever: Complications

Oropouche fever is usually self-limiting and does not lead to any serious health concern. However rarely, the disease may progress to involve the protective coverings of brain (meninges), resulting in ‘meningitis’.

Oropouche fever: Treatment

The disease is generally self-limiting and may resolve on its own within a few days. The treatment consists of drinking plenty of water to prevent dehydration as well as taking analgesics (pain killers) and antipyretics for pain and fever. In extreme cases of oropouche fever, antiviral medications may be prescribed to help combat the viral disease.