Combating dengue in Manila can be a never-ending task. What provides mosquitoes with the most productive breeding sites? An eco-bio-social study in six Asian cities* exploring factors in Aedes aegypti breeding found outdoor water containers, particularly if uncovered, beneath shrubbery and unused for at least one week, were ideal for the dengue vector.
We spoke to Dr. Fe Espino from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City, Philippines, about the study: “It was in two phases: the first, a situational analysis to understand the biological and ecological situation in urban areas where dengue transmission occurs; and the second, the intervention.”
Combating dengue in Manilla and urbanization’s impact
The first phase brought some interesting results. “It is often assumed that dengue is more common in crowded urbanized areas,” reveals Dr. Fe, “especially areas where there are informal settlers. But we found that the areas with high socio-economic status had a higher number of vector breeding sites.”
This is because settlers in informal communities lack piped water supplies and use water containers more frequently: water is sold from a common source, with containers emptied and refilled on a regular basis.
Phase one allowed the study team to devise the locally appropriate approaches to combating dengue vector density that would be used in phase two. Dr. Fe explained: “The current recommendation was to examine all containers, but we suggest periodic inspection of key containers, especially when pupa numbers are expected to rise, such as at the start of the rainy season.”
With limited public health resources, households need to play a vitally important role in the intervention. However, to ensure success, Dr. Fe pointed out that local authorities need to get their buy-in: “Communities need to understand that it is in their hands to control dengue. It is a shared responsibility.”
Learn more about Dengue Track here
Find out what happened in phase two in our coming posts!
*Chennai in India, Yogyakarta in Indonesia, Myanmar in Yangon, Masagana (not real name, anonymized for privacy reasons) in the Philippines, the Gampaha district of Sri Lanka, and the Chachoengsao province in Thailand.
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