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
Inselspital: Fewer CT scans needed after cerebral bleeding
20.03.2019 | Universitätsspital Bern
Building blocks for new medications: the University of Graz is seeking a technology partner
19.03.2019 | Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz
DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.
The nonlinear process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in gases is one of the cornerstones of attosecond science (an attosecond is a billionth of a...
Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.
The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...
Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.
Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...
The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.
A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.
"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...
11.03.2019 | Event News
01.03.2019 | Event News
28.02.2019 | Event News
25.03.2019 | Trade Fair News
25.03.2019 | Life Sciences
25.03.2019 | Information Technology