Dengue fever- Higher risk of infection in obese children

Mulya Rahma
dr. Mulya Rahma Karyanti, Sp.A(K) (Source: BUNDA HOSPITAL)

Jakarta, IO – The rainy season is usually accompanied by a heightened risk of infection from various diseases, including influenza and dengue fever. The fever is an especially vicious and potentially fatal disease, especially if it infects an obese child. We need to intensify our efforts to suppress the fever and recognize its initial symptoms, to lower the risk of serious illness or death. 

Chairman of the Indonesian Pediatricians’ Association (Ikatan Dokter Anak Indonesia – “IDAI”) Central Management, dr. Piprim Basarah Yanuarso, Sp.A(K), explained that after a person gets infected with dengue fever by an Aedes aegypti mosquito, they will only suffer a prolonged fever without other accompanying symptoms, like the usual coughs, sneezes, and breathing restrictions. However, children showing initial symptoms must be treated promptly, so that they don’t escalate into the dangerous stages. “Overweight and obese children tend to suffer from more severe symptoms when infected with the dengue virus, as it might trigger metabolic syndrome. If they catch the fever, they might be in for fatal complications,” declared dr. Piprim during the “Dengue Fever Among Children” online media meet held last Thursday (26/01/2023). 

Chairwoman of the Tropical and Pediatric Infection Division, Dr. Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital/University of Indonesia Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Pediatric Health, and member of the IDAI Tropical Infections and Infectious Diseases Coordinating Work Unit, dr. Mulya Rahma Karyanti, Sp.A(K), observed how obese children have a higher risk of suffering from complications, as an infection of the dengue virus will lower their immunity more than is the case for average-weight children. Obese children’s immunology reaction will be more likely to spike up their reaction to inflammation-causing substances much more harshly. “This condition will cause plasma, which contains water, sugar, and electrolyte, to leak out of the blood vessels to surrounding tissues. If the leak is not treated, the child might suffer shock or even death,” she said. 

Parents must make sure that a child infected with dengue fever must have a lot of water to keep from getting dehydrated. “Pay attention to their urination. If they do not urinate within eight hours, get them to a doctor. The disease has a higher risk level not only for obese children and adults, as babies, pregnant mothers, the elderly, or even ordinary adults who suffer from comorbid illnesses, are more likely to worsen when infected with dengue fever,” dr. Rahma said.