Easier said than done, and cooperation of the local communities is an important factor in the success of a campaign. So observed scientists from the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITG). For her work in dengue control on two continents ITG-researcher Veerle Vanlerberghe obtained a PhD at the ITG and Ghent University.
Since the sixties the yearly number of new cases of dengue – also known as breakbone fever – has grown thirtyfold. Forty per cent of the world population is at risk of infection by the dengue virus. Every year fifty million people become infected. Light cases are similar to influenza, including heavy fever, headache, excruciating muscle pains. In severe cases the number of platelets in the blood crashes, which leads to a half million cases of bleeding and 25 000 deaths per year. There is no vaccine, and no medicine. Luckily, most people recover spontaneously. In severe case, physicians can support the recovery with symptomatic measures, like administering fluids or a blood transfusion, but only if they react fast enough and follow up the patient and his fluid balance closely.
The only meaningful action is controlling the mosquitoes that transmit the virus – mostly Aedes aegypti. Several control strategies have proven effective – in controlled circumstances. In everyday reality they leave much to be desired, as Vanlerberghe showed. For instance because the cultural differences between people were not taken into account: do they accept your approach, do they change their behaviour, do they change it permanently? Do they use the insecticide curtains they received against the mosquitoes, or for fishing? Do they accept fishes that eat mosquito larvae in tanks for household water?
In Cuba Vanlerberghe observed that management of water reservoirs and other mosquito breeding places works better when the local community is involved. People are prepared to go the extra mile and supplement the government programme, and they continue to do so when the research programme has ended. Vanlerberghe was the first to examine the long-term effects of involving the local communities. This involvement not only is more effective, it also is cheaper.
In Venezuela and Thailand she observed how important cultural factors can be: an overwhelming majority of people accepted the use of long-lasting insecticide treated curtains, but only one in five was willing to use insecticide treated jar covers.
Another observation was: don’t take cooperation for granted. The insecticide treated curtains might be long-living, their use wasn’t. People gradually stopped using them. To make them really effective, supporting promotional campaigns are needed, and they too cost money.
Thus, Vanlerberghe concludes, if you want to control mosquitoes, laboratory tests won’t do the job. You will have to take into account human behaviour, epidemiological information and the exact behaviour of the mosquitoes.
Pieter Van Dooren | alfa
Discovery shows promise for treating Huntington's Disease
05.08.2020 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Carbon monoxide improves endurance performance
05.08.2020 | Universität Bayreuth
Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT have come up with a striking new addition to contact stamping technologies in the ERDF research project ScanCut. In collaboration with industry partners from North Rhine-Westphalia, the Aachen-based team of researchers developed a hybrid manufacturing process for the laser cutting of thin-walled metal strips. This new process makes it possible to fabricate even the tiniest details of contact parts in an eco-friendly, high-precision and efficient manner.
Plug connectors are tiny and, at first glance, unremarkable – yet modern vehicles would be unable to function without them. Several thousand plug connectors...
An international research team has found a new approach that may be able to reduce bone loss in osteoporosis and maintain bone health.
Osteoporosis is the most common age-related bone disease which affects hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. It is estimated that one in three women...
Traditional single-cell sequencing methods help to reveal insights about cellular differences and functions - but they do this with static snapshots only...
“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.
Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...
An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.
Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...
23.07.2020 | Event News
21.07.2020 | Event News
07.07.2020 | Event News
06.08.2020 | Earth Sciences
06.08.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering
06.08.2020 | Life Sciences