Dengue: the fastest growing mosquito-borne disease
in the world
The disease is now endemic in more than 100 countries in Africa, the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean, South-east Asia and the Western Pacific. South-east Asia and the Western Pacific are the most seriously affected. Before 1970 only nine countries had experienced DHF epidemics, a number that had increased more than four-fold by 1995. Not only is the number of cases increasing as the disease is spreading to new areas, but explosive outbreaks are occurring.
According to the WHO, vector control is the available method for the dengue and DHF prevention.
1901 – The dengue mosquito Aedes aegypti is eliminated from the city of Havana, Cuba, where it caused a major epidemic of yellow fever virus.
1906 – Transmission of dengue virus by the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti is confirmed, classifying it as a mosquito-borne disease.
1950s – Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) is first described from epidemics in the Philippines and Thailand.
1950s-1960s – The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) stages a campaign to eliminate the dengue vector Aedes aegypti from the entire South America. Fred L. Soper plays a key role in this endeavour.
1970 – The PAHO campaign has led to the full elimination of dengue mosquitoes from 16 countries in South America. This year also signals the breakdown of the campaign, closely following the ending of the global malaria eradication campaign in 1969).
1970s-2000 – Dengue makes a come-back in South America, and conquers more and more terrain in the tropics. Without a vaccine and specific drugs, vector control remains the mainstay of dengue control. A shift from vertical, centralized programmes to community-based responsibility is observed.
Dengue becomes the most important mosquito-borne viral disease affecting humans.
2005 – Australian and Vietnamese researchers report massive success with the use of Mesocyclops copepods in Vietnam as a biological control agent against Aedes aegypti larvae; in The Lancet.
2007 - In this year alone, there were more than 890 000 reported cases of dengue in the Americas, of which 26 000 cases were DHF.
2010 – An estimated 2.5 billion people are at risk of contracting dengue fever, and annually some 50 million cases are being recorded.
2010 – The UK biotech firm releases 3 million genetically engineered Aedes aegypti mosquitoes on Grand Cayman. An 80% reduction in population size is observed. In December they release 6000 engineered males in Malaysia.
2011 – In northern Australia the first Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are being released. Wolbachia inhibits development of dengue virus in mosquitoes.
2011 – Biotech company Oxitec announces the release of 6000 genetically engineered mosquitoes in Malaysia in December 2010. The release is met with substantial national and international opposition.
– The dengue virus causes massive epidemics in
Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and North America.