Dengue is a vector-borne disease, known as ‘break-bone fever’, transmitted to humans after being bit by a mosquito infected with the virus. Dengue symptoms range from pain behind the eyes, aches, fever, joint pain and rash; to lethargy or restlessness; to abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, and mucosal bleeding. The disease may also be fatal.
By taking into account the illness narratives of some people who suffered dengue fever, I realised that the idea of pain and the ‘break-bone’ sensation were very meaningful in the way the disease was understood by the people who had experienced it. Hence, I produce this piece as a way to reflect on ‘what is it like to have dengue?’. These are some of the comments of those people:
‘You feel the pain down to the bones, joints, and muscles’.
‘I don’t recall anything ever bringing me to my knees like dengue’.
‘Everything hurt, even when I touched my skin I felt it hurt and burn’.
‘It produced a joint pain that did not allow me to move easily, like my feet being all stiff’.
‘Dengue is one of the worst experiences in my life’.
‘Dengue is like being forced to listen to a buzzing sound inside your head all day’.
Music: Susana Valencia-Tobón