Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bangladeshi and Canadian researchers to stem transmission and deaths from dengue fever

24.01.2013
Funded by the International Development Research Centre, their goal is to understand how dengue is transmitted in the city, focusing on — health, the environment and climate, human behaviour, and urban planning, among others. This knowledge is critical for preventing the spread of the mosquito vector and controlling the virus.

No specific treatment exists for a serious mosquito-borne disease that is sweeping into new parts of the globe. Nor are there any vaccines to prevent infection in the first place.



Combating the disease — dengue — largely depends on controlling the mosquitoes that spread it. To that end, a Canadian-funded effort to stem transmission and deaths from dengue in one hot spot for the disease in Bangladesh could help communities worldwide develop strategies to fend it off.

Dengue is a growing global public health concern. Before 1970, severe dengue epidemics had been recorded in only nine countries. Now the disease is endemic in more than 100 countries in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. The World Health Organization reports that half of the world’s population is at risk. Hundreds of thousands of severe cases and more than 20,000 deaths occur annually.

Dengue is caused by any one of four viruses transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. These mosquitoes were originally found in tropical and sub-tropical regions, but now exist on all continents except Antarctica. They have caused outbreaks of dengue in the southern United States, and been seen as far north as New York and Chicago.

While dengue exists in both rural and urban areas, city dwellers are most at risk. The mosquito disease-carriers reproduce in standing water, which is common wherever people store water at home for drinking and bathing purposes. The rapid growth of cities in tropical countries has led to overcrowding, allowing more dengue-carrying mosquitoes to live closer to more people.

Because of poor knowledge about dengue transmission and lax regulations, construction sites in the booming cities offer ideal breeding grounds. Uncollected garbage also poses a danger, as discarded plastic packaging, tires, and other containers allow water to accumulate and remain stagnant for days. And if there’s no water for hatching, mosquito eggs can survive in dry conditions for more than year.

Humans help spread the virus in other ways — for example, by shipping tires and other containers to faraway places. Increased air travel means the virus can readily travel with its human host to new and distant locations.

Fighting dengue is an uphill battle, made difficult in many areas by weak surveillance systems, inadequate public health services, and a lack of resources to control the mosquito vectors. A more fundamental problem is that little is known about disease transmission dynamics — how changes in land use, in population, climate, pathogen evolution, and international travel and trade can trigger or exacerbate the spread of the disease.

All these factors are at play in the major cities of Bangladesh. The capital, Dhaka, with a population of 17 million, has experienced repeated devastating outbreaks of the severe form of dengue in recent years. But poor public health infrastructure and a lack of resources mean this poor, rapidly growing city lacks even basic knowledge about how much dengue there is, what strains are circulating, and where and when the infected mosquitoes are to be found.

That could soon change thanks to research being carried out by Bangladeshi and Canadian researchers, funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre.

The team brings together Bangladesh’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with strong scientific organizations (North South University, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh and Jahangirnagar University in Bangladesh with the University of Manitoba and the Public Health Agency of Canada). Also participating are a civil society organization with presence and credibility in city slums, and city ward governments.
Their goal, simply put, is to better understand how dengue is transmitted in the city, focusing on many factors — health, the environment and climate, human behaviour, and urban planning, among others. This knowledge is critical for preventing the spread of the mosquito vector and controlling the virus.

That knowledge can then lead to more strategic investments in public health and healthier working and living environments. Good working relationships between community groups and government agencies will help ensure that solutions work well in the affected areas of the city. Dhaka’s experience and new knowledge gained could also benefit other cities and regions facing similar problems.

By building the capacity of local researchers and government institutions to understand and respond to dengue, and by strengthening international collaboration, the research will not only reduce suffering in the short term, but limit opportunities for new diseases to emerge.

Canadians well understand the potential threat these diseases pose, having dealt with invasions by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and West Nile Virus in the recent past. The more Canada can do to assist developing countries control diseases such as dengue, the better for them and for us.

About the authors

Dominique Charron and Andrés Sanchez work on ecohealth — the field of ecosystem approaches to human health at the Ottawa-based Canada’s International Development Research Centre.

Dominique Charron / Andrés Sanchez | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.idrc.org.sg
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Proteomics and precision medicine
08.02.2016 | University of Iowa Health Care

nachricht Scientists create imaging 'toolkit' to help identify new brain tumor drug targets
02.02.2016 | eLife

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: From allergens to anodes: Pollen derived battery electrodes

Pollens, the bane of allergy sufferers, could represent a boon for battery makers: Recent research has suggested their potential use as anodes in lithium-ion batteries.

"Our findings have demonstrated that renewable pollens could produce carbon architectures for anode applications in energy storage devices," said Vilas Pol, an...

Im Focus: Automated driving: Steering without limits

OmniSteer project to increase automobiles’ urban maneuverability begins with a € 3.4 million budget

Automobiles increase the mobility of their users. However, their maneuverability is pushed to the limit by cramped inner city conditions. Those who need to...

Im Focus: Microscopy: Nine at one blow

Advance in biomedical imaging: The University of Würzburg's Biocenter has enhanced fluorescence microscopy to label and visualise up to nine different cell structures simultaneously.

Fluorescence microscopy allows researchers to visualise biomolecules in cells. They label the molecules using fluorescent probes, excite them with light and...

Im Focus: NASA's ICESat-2 equipped with unique 3-D manufactured part

NASA's follow-on to the successful ICESat mission will employ a never-before-flown technique for determining the topography of ice sheets and the thickness of sea ice, but that won't be the only first for this mission.

Slated for launch in 2018, NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) also will carry a 3-D printed part made of polyetherketoneketone (PEKK),...

Im Focus: Sinking islands: Does the rise of sea level endanger the Takuu Atoll in the Pacific?

In the last decades, sea level has been rising continuously – about 3.3 mm per year. For reef islands such as the Maldives or the Marshall Islands a sinister picture is being painted evoking the demise of the island states and their cultures. Are the effects of sea-level rise already noticeable on reef islands? Scientists from the ZMT have now answered this question for the Takuu Atoll, a group of Pacific islands, located northeast of Papua New Guinea.

In the last decades, sea level has been rising continuously – about 3.3 mm per year. For reef islands such as the Maldives or the Marshall Islands a sinister...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AKL’16: Experience Laser Technology Live in Europe´s Largest Laser Application Center!

02.02.2016 | Event News

From intelligent knee braces to anti-theft backpacks

26.01.2016 | Event News

DATE 2016 Highlighting Automotive and Secure Systems

26.01.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean acidification makes coralline algae less robust

08.02.2016 | Earth Sciences

Online shopping might not be as green as we thought

08.02.2016 | Studies and Analyses

Proteomics and precision medicine

08.02.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>