Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Dengue Data Deficit
13 December 2014

Dengue Data Deficit

This graffiti in Acapulco on Mexico’s Pacific coast is part of a community-based effort to decrease dengue transmission. It shows the breeding cycle of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the primary vector of the four different types of the dengue virus. Dengue is expanding both in terms of infection rates and geographical range – it's the most common mosquito-transmitted viral disease – which comes with a considerable economic cost. But despite its costly pervasiveness, it's not clear how bad the situation really is, mainly because the number and severity of national dengue cases is underreported. A new study proposes several strategies to plug this knowledge gap to strengthen policies and finance new control technologies. These strategies include documenting the number of outpatient visits before and after hospitalisation, merging multiple data sources and increasing efforts to collect blood samples to assess virus levels across whole populations. Even this graffiti might help.

Written by Nick Kennedy

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