Vector Control, Sauver des Vies

Dengue

Dengue fever is caused by one of four related, but distinct, virus serotypes which are transmitted to humans by the Aedes aegypti mosquito in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Dengue, also known as breakbone fever, is a painful disease but not  fatal unless it  develops into the potentially life-threatening  dengue haemorrhagic fever or severe dengue. Severe dengue was first recognized in the 1950s during dengue epidemics in the Philippines and Thailand. Today, severe dengue affects most Asian and Latin American countries and has become a leading cause of hospitalization and death among children in these regions. The global incidence of dengue in peri-urban and urban areas has increased dramatically in recent years, and up to 100 million people are infected annually, with more than half of the world’s population at risk. 

The vector,   Aedes aegypti  is  very common in areas  lacking piped water  supply where  artificial or natural water containers (water storage containers, flower pots, discarded tires, buckets, clogged rain gutters,  drums, etc. are ideal larval habitats for this mosquito. The rapid increase in dengue is attributed to the rise in urban populations and subsequent creation of favourable breeding sites for the mosquito.  Contrary to the malaria vector,  Aedes  aegypti is a day biting mosquito.

A successful campaign l to control Aedes  aegypti  through pesticide use  in the 1950s and 1960s made  the  Americas virtually dengue –free  but control was discontinued and the disease and vectors came back with a vengeance. Clinical and epidemiological patterns have changed since then and continue to evolve (This seems to not add anything, what does this mean for Dengue fever?).

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for dengue other than careful clinical management. Currently, the only way of preventing and controlling the disease is by targeting the vector, the Aedes mosquito, through environmental control and insecticide use.