Dengue and COVID-19: Differences and similarities between the two viral diseases

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With Covid taking a backseat and a surge in cases of Dengue during monsoon, people have often been found confusing the symptoms of both viral diseases which have the potential to be lethal. So it is important that one understands the fundamental similarities and differences between the two viral diseases for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

According to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), viral infections like Covid-19 and Dengue often share several similarities in terms of symptoms and other factors.

Dengue is caused by one of any of four related viruses 1, 2, 3, and 4. Due to which, a person can be infected with a dengue virus multiple times in his or her lifetime. However, it is unclear if antibodies created from a COVID-19 infection can provide protection against the disease.

Dengue spreads through the bites of infected mosquitoes, mainly Aedes aegypti mosquitoes whereas COVID-19 mostly spreads through contact transmission and airborne infection.

At mild to moderate stage, patients can easily recover from both the diseases at home but may need hospitalisations in case of severity.

The incubation period for dengue ranges between 3-10 days, typically 5-7 days but COVID-19 may extend to 14 days, with a median of 4-5 days from exposure to the onset of symptoms.

Symptoms:

Dengue marks several symptoms like fever, headache with eye pain, nausea, vomiting, rash, Leukopenia (low WBC count).

Mild to moderate Covid infection may trigger fever, cough, difficulty in breathing, fatigue, body ache, loss of taste of smell, sore throat, runny nose, vomiting.

Severe illness in case of Dengue may result in plasma leak, respiratory distress, organ impairment and bleeding. While critical Covid may cause dyspnea, hypoxia, respiratory failure and multiorgan system dysfunction.