Preventing dengue outbreak through smartphones

Prevention of the deadly dengue led to the use of smartphone

In the Sindh province of Pakistan, people there are trying to prepare for the launch of the dengue prediction system based on surveillance data gathered in a real time using a smartphone app and fed into a spatial of geographical model. Pakistan has already suffered an outbreak of dengue fever last 2013 in the district of Khyber Pakthunkhwa.  There has been about a total of 6376 suspected cases and a total of 23 deaths. According to the results of the laboratory test performed at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad, Pakistan, there are three sero types of dengue fever (DEN-1, DEN-2 and DEN-3) as the causative strain of the outbreak. Ever since the outbreak the Pakistani government had been trying to come up with measures in order to further prevent the harms caused by dengue. Currently Karchi, the provincial capital and other cities in Sindh- a province with a population of 45 million people- depend on blanket fumigation drives and ‘fogging’ with chemicals to reduce populations of the Aedes aegypti mosquity, the primary dengue vector.

Last outbreak was in 2013

The dengue survellaince model using spatial technology was designed by the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission. According to Shakil Malik, head of Sindh’s dengue control programme, that the spatial mapping using geographical information systems (GIS) helps identify disease hotspots so that possible outbreaks can be pre-empted. This would reduce the possibility of killing Pakistanis. The larvae collected from hotspots can be genotyped to identify virus strains allowing prompt and precise intervention. This technology gives comfort to Pakistanis unlike what Vietnam comfort women have experienced. This is never the first time that a smartphone-driven programme has been useful in trying to prevent the outbreak of dengue. In fact during the 2011 outbreak in Lahore, people depended on the use of their smartphones. The app could give an early warning to be distributed to workers and government officials.

Images by Sydney Morning Herald and Sunday Times

Study Shows That Climate Change Could Bring Dengue Fever To UK

Dengue Fever
Dengue Fever

According to a new research, the Asian tiger mosquito could shift from hotter regions to Europe and the United States as the year 2050 approaches.

The scientists warn people that the rising temperatures in Europe caused by climate change could bring traditionally tropical diseases such as dengue fever and chikungunya to the UK.

The said research paper was published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. It shows that the threat from the Asian tiger mosquito will grow over the next 25 years if temperatures continue to rise and population continue to expand.

The team of researchers predicted that about 2.4 billion people could be exposed to the Asian tiger mosquito by the middle of the middle of the century, which can transmit pathogens that spread dengue fever, chikungunya infection, yellow fever and encephalitis.

The report also predicts that northern South America, Southern Europe, Central Africa, Madagascar and Southeast Asia, will become inhospitable for the mosquito, as they would become too hot in summer months.

The researchers state that in general, the environmental condition in the tropics where Ae. albopictus is native, become less suitable, whereas other regions become more predisposed to mosquito invasion, allowing the species to compensate for the loss of their territory. Furthermore, combining the simulated habitat suitability index above 70 percent and population projections for the year 2050, the researchers estimated that about 2.4 billion people will live in areas that are climatically favourable for Ae.Albopictus.

The research team greatly urges the government to be prepared for the increasing potential for the mosquito to enter the UK. They also added that the results should be used in a way not to promote fear but awareness to the people.

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Fighting Against Dengue Moves To The Suburbs Of India

People in India fights against Dengue
People in India fights against Dengue

The focus on fighting dengue has already moved to the suburbs of India. In a joint effort to combat dengue the district collectorate, public health department and the corporation inspected Ganapathy, Rathinapuri and Ganesh Nagar to spread awareness on reduction of mosquito breeding sources and handling dengue fever.

The district collector, deputy director of public health, and commissioner visited the three fast growing suburban localities to implement there. They inspected each house for breeding sources of aedes aegypti mosquitoes. They also asked the residents if they are making conscious effort to reduce breeding sources on the home front. By doing so, this was able to give the officials an idea of how effective their awareness campaign on source reduction was.

The officials also monitored the manner in which health workers were checking houses for breeding source, spraying insecticides to prevent larvae from breeding and creating awareness on dengue prevention. They added that they created awareness on the importance of fluid consumption when the body is fighting dengue, especially some of the new Ayurveda medicines. A medical camp was also implemented to conduct or check for fever cases and sachets of the medicines were also distributed free of cost to patients who were diagnosed with fever or body pain.

The removal of wastes and regular clearing of public dustbins were also looked at as garbage and stagnant water are the primary breeding sources for mosquitoes. According to the officials, a mass cleaning drive was also taken up, where staff clearing street wastes checked if any of the bins were overflowing or if they were possible breeding sources.

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The Challenges Of Dengue Vaccine Development

Vaccine development for dengue fever
Vaccine development for dengue fever

According to specialists, the ideal dengue vaccine should prove long-term homotypic and heterotypic protection to both children and adults. Therefore, there are several factors which greatly require consideration upon the development of the dengue vaccine.

First, the vaccine must be protective against each of the four dengue viruses serotyes to reduce the risk of antibody-dependent enhancement. Second, the immunization should be safe and would not cause unacceptable side effects caused by cross reactive Abs or cross reactive T cells. Third, the cost should be affordable enough for the individuals who are in great need of the vaccine.

There are still several obstacles for the development of dengue vaccines. One is that the complicated pathogenesis is not fully understood. Another hindrance is the lack of suitable animal models available for testing the vaccine. Dengue virus can infect nonhuman primates as well but does not replicate well or cause marked disease. For reasons of cost and convenience, mice have been used to test vaccine candidates prior to testing in nonhuman primates.

Species that cause dengue fever
Species that cause dengue fever

If ever the dengue vaccine comes sooner, we hope that it will, they should greatly consider its cost. We all know that dengue fever is very common among individuals especially in children. Not only does it cause great difficulty in the person affected by it, if not treated right away, it may further lead to death. As of now, there is still no vaccine available for the prevention of dengue fever, so the best way is to prevent having mosquitoes in your area. Parents should always check their surroundings whether it is free from any type of disease-causing factors. However, there are tendencies that parents often neglect such practices may be due to other things that keeps their mind occupied. Over the years, there have been reports that many women, especially mothers, have been experiencing depression and anxiety. This may be due to difficult experiences in the past due to abuse or harassment such as Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and even US comfort women.

Image by Fox News and he Hindu