Too Close to Home?

By Carolyn Burtt

Dengue infections tend to occur in the physical vicinity of one other, according to a study performed by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Florida. Because dengue is transmitted through the blood that a particular strain of mosquito transfers from one human to the next, having multiple people within a 200 meter area would increase the likelihood of one strain of dengue efficiently spreading.

            Dengue-infected individuals who lived within 200 meters of another infected person had a 60% chance of having contracted the same disease strain, but this percentage decreased to 3% for individuals living between one and five kilometers from one another. This demonstrates the sheer number of dengue strains that exist, as well as the natural competition between each strain due to the geographic proximity of people in high-density areas and how far a mosquito can fly.

            With over 300 million individuals annually infected with dengue and two million of these developing dengue hemorrhagic fever, this research is particularly pertinent to the medical community in their efforts to prevent dengue infections. Vaccines and techniques put in place in residences and densely-populated areas of dengue-prone nations could be tailored to these results and the patterns of infection that appear to exist. Approximately 40% of the human population lives in regions in which the Aedes aegypti mosquito lives, and therefore are in danger of contracting a dengue infection. 

 

Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. (2017, March 23). Most dengue infections transmitted in and around home: Findings could aid in interrupting transmission chains and reducing severe illness. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 2, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170323141400.htm