Tag Archives: dengue fever

These graphics are taken from The Washington Post’s article, The invisible threat: Rising temperatures mean insects can carry viruses such as West Nile to wider areas, that ran on November 28, 2015 (story by Joby Warrick; photos by Jeremy Lock). One Health is not just a slogan but it is a movement that sees the interconnection between animal health, human health and the environment.


 

As the world warms, the zones of cool temperatures keeping certain mosquitoes in check will move north. Rising temperatures will usher in tropical diseases, such as dengue fever, or “break-bone disease,” which is transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes infected with the virus. Sources: Nature, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization

As the world warms, the zones of cool temperatures keeping certain mosquitoes in check will move north. Rising temperatures will usher in tropical diseases, such as dengue fever, or “break-bone disease,” which is transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes infected with the virus.
Sources: Nature, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization

tick-spread-600

The black-legged tick, or deer tick, transmits Lyme disease, babesiosis, Powassan virus, and Borrelia anaplasmosis.
Sources: EcoHealth, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

Whenever the Mega Millions jackpot hits obscenely high numbers, like it did last week, I start making a list of what I would buy and where I would make contributions or investments if I won. One place would be in working to control or minimize dengue fever.

It is a disease close to my heart — and lurking in the back of my mind — and I feel like its lone champion, because it is overshadowed by malaria. It’s particularly frustrating because Federal funding ignores it as well, yet could control it with a minor investment. In the great scheme of things, we aren’t talking about a lot of money.  This infectious disease could be managed and controlled, and thereby we could reduce or eliminate a critical public health issue.

Dengue is one of several infectious diseases that is so underserved that the World Health Organization lists it among its “neglected tropical diseases.”

Neglected. Wow. Strong word.

They’re called neglected because they are underserved, underfunded, and under researched — particularly when measured against the threats they pose.

ID-10065554

Case in point: This week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put out an alert:  Chikungunya, a devastating infectious disease, which had never before been seen in the Western Hemisphere, arrived in the Caribbean. The alert told travelers – more than 9 million Americans journey to the Caribbean every year – what to do to prevent becoming infected.  And they would be wise to take precautions: An infection typically causes severe symptoms including headache, joint pain and fever.

Dengue is already endemic in Latin America, and cases have been seen in California and Florida. There’s even a new dengue virus type to worry about. Experts are already postulating that Chikungunya will follow. These aren’t diseases or illnesses that are prevalent “somewhere else,” but are viruses right here in the U.S. And it will take more than individual behaviors to keep them out. Funding for research to find a prevention, to enforce border protection, and multi-lateral agreements to address and contain the sources of the disease are priorities.  Then you work on changing individual behaviors.

I didn’t win this week’s mega lottery. But humanity would win big if we worked to remove the “neglected” from the common moniker of this collection of sly diseases, and slide them to the “Controlled” or “Managed” columns instead.

PS: After drafting this blog, I was talking to one of my social marketing mavens about Neglected Tropical Disease and he said, “The first thing you do is change the name? Neglected?! No.  We need to rethink how these viruses are known.”

— Dee Bennett