Jakarta (ANTARA) - An expert from the Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Indonesia (FKUI)-Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital (RSCM) has listed some symptoms that can help distinguish between dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), typhoid, and malaria.

"It's quite difficult (to tell the difference) because the symptom is the same: it's fever," Dr. Adityo Susilo, Sp.PD-KPTI, FINASIM, from the tropical infection division of the Faculty of Medicine said at a health webinar on Thursday.

DHF is a viral infection that is transmitted through the bite of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, he stated. The characteristic of the dengue mosquito is that it has white spots on its body, he added.

One of the striking symptoms of DHF is a high fever that appears suddenly and is accompanied by severe headache, heavy eyes, muscle ache, and weakness.

"This infection can also interfere with the digestive process in the stomach. Therefore, the patient also often feels nauseous, has pain in the pit of the stomach, so that the ability to eat and drink is greatly reduced," Susilo informed.

These symptoms, he said, appear during the initial phase, when the virus is very active, and generally last for three days.

"Uniquely, after the fever goes down, the patient actually enters the critical phase. This is because antibodies begin to form and are more destructive. The resistance process becomes more intense and the risk of shock and bleeding increases. It will last three days, but some cases can extend," he added.

"Once at the end of the critical phase, the fever may reappear but (it is) not as high as the fever at the beginning of the phase. After that, the patient has just entered the healing phase. Of course, his condition will get better, the platelet count will increase, and the condition will recover," he said.

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Meanwhile, typhoid (commonly called typhus) is caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi, which is usually found in contaminated water or food, Susilo said. The symptoms of typhoid fever do not appear suddenly like dengue fever, but gradually, he added.

"The fever follows the pattern of stairs; day by day, the fever gets higher," he said.

The symptoms of typhoid fever follow the reverse pattern, he highlighted. This means that the fever is higher at night than in the morning or during the day.

Susilo then said that typhoid also has symptoms related to digestion. Therefore, a patient will complain of constipation or difficulty defecating. However, some patients may experience diarrhea.

Meanwhile, malaria is caused by the Plasmodium parasite, which is transmitted through the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito.

"Malaria has more characteristic symptoms. The malaria triad is a specific symptom for this disease," Susilo said.

The malaria triad comprises the cold stage, a phase in which the patient shivers violently, the hot stage or the high fever phase, and the sweating phase when the fever begins to reduce gradually, but the patient sweats a lot, he explained.

"In contrast to dengue fever, fever caused by malaria goes down by itself, even if it is not treated," he added.

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Translator: Katriana
Editor: Suharto
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