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Researcher Studies Commuting and Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Posted on | September 25, 2009 | 1 Comment

Manoa Assistant Researcher Durrell Kapan examined how daily commuting patterns in mega-cities may be a critically overlooked factor in understanding the resurgence of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever, infecting 50–100 million people annually. The research, co-authored by Ben Adams was published in PLoS One.

“Even a small number of infected people who remain active can move a virus such as dengue between different parts of the community, where it will be picked up by mosquitos and, after an incubation period, be passed on to another unsuspecting passerby,” says Kapan. “Our research examined whether the standard practice of eliminating mosquito vectors at residences would be sufficient to control dengue if other areas in the community still had several large patches of mosquitos that could become infected by commuters.”

“Our primary objective with this paper is to prompt researchers, public health practitioners and others concerned with vector control to look beyond the traditional epidemiological definition of a transmission cluster based on home address, and consider novel ways to control community transmission of vector-borne diseases that account for great morbidity and mortality worldwide,” says Kapan. “Even a short visit to an infected patch of mosquitos, say at a lunch venue or open market, may be enough to keep the virus circulating.”

Read the news release.

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