The government needs to devise long-term strategies to prevent frequent dengue outbreaks
THealth Organization has listHE WORLD ed dengue as one of the 17 most neglected tropical diseases. And not without reason. Consider this. Between 50 million and 100 million dengue cases are reported annually from more than 100 endemic countries every year; almost half of the world’s population is vulnerable to dengue, but still drugs to treat the disease or vaccines to prevent it have not been developed. Researchers and policymakers say that the disease never received adequate attention because it mostly affected the poorest sections of society.
But climate change has changed all that. It has helped the disease spread—the incidence of dengue has risen 30-fold in the past 50 years—and made large parts of the population susceptible. Dengue can no longer be ignored. For instance, during the 2014 Football World Cup,Brazil used a forecasting method to determine the risk of the disease during the event because more than three million Brazilian and international spectators were expected to be in the country. The government used a prediction model developed by the University of Exeter and the Brazilian Centre for Weather Forecast and Climate Studies to predict the probability of the disease for the 553 regions of Brazil.The model suggested that there was a probability of outbreaks in the northeastern cities of Natal, Fortaleza and Recife. The Ministry of Health and local authorities took cityspecific mitigation and control actions up to three months ahead of the World Cup. As a result, the overall reported dengue cases for 2014 were lower than the previous year’s. Such forecasts can help prepare before dengue season each year.
Apart from preemptive measures, countries have also used bioenvironmental strategies to check the spread of the disease. Vietnam, for instance,used a small crustacean,called Mesocyclops aspericornis, to control dengue. This organism has
Almost half of the world's population is vulnerable to dengue, but still drugs
to treat the disease or vaccines to prevent it have not