Dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) are acute febrile diseases, found in the tropics, with a geographical spread similar to malaria. Caused by one of four closely related virus serotypes of the genus Flavivirus, family Flaviviridae, each serotype is sufficiently different that there is no cross-protection and epidemics caused by multiple serotypes (hyperendemicity) can occur. Dengue is transmitted to humans by the mosquito Aedes aegypti (rarely Aedes albopictus).
"While traveling in Southeast Asia in 1994 at the age of 20, I contracted Dengue Fever. I had a rather severe type which affected most of the major joints in my body: knees, shoulders, elbows, hips. The symptoms of joint pain were supposed to disappear with time, but I unfortunately have experienced arthritis-like symptoms and bursitis which have failed to disappear from my knees.
"When returning to the U.S., I bewildered doctors because none of them had experienced treating dengue fever. I was referred to a rheumatologist and an infectious disease specialist. They each gave me anti-inflammatory meds and hoped the pain would eventually fade with time. During the three months after contracting the disease, I had a hard time walking, standing up, and sitting down. My joints would throb and become stiff and swollen when I was sedentary, but the pain of movement hurt just as bad, so I stayed immobile for fear of injuring myself further.
I had cortizone shots in both knees, but after a few months, gave up on medical treatment because it didn't seem to be helping and I didn't like putting so many drugs into my body with no positive results. For the first three years I modified my diet, took vitamin supplements, tried several anti-inflammatories, and took steriods. Some things would ease the pain temporarily, but the residual pain never left. I wanted the strength back in my knees to allow me to explore the world with the youth and vigor my age alone should allow me.
"My housemate introduced me to Bikram's yoga, and amazingly, it has helped my constant knee pain dissipate. I saw immediate improvement, as in, following class one, and have been practicing for six months so far. I notice a significant difference in my pain level when I go to yoga. My leg strength has improved so much. I found instant results with yoga which months of physical therapy failed to provide.
I was amazed at what I was able to accomplish at yoga...I just listened to the instructor and followed her directions. My knees didn't give up on me!!