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Thursday, February 8, 2007

Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) -- Prevention


Vaccine development for dengue and DHF is difficult because any of four different viruses may cause disease, and because protection against only one or two dengue viruses could actually increase the risk of more serious disease. Nonetheless, progress is being made in the development of vaccines that may protect against all four dengue viruses. Such products may become available for public health use within several years.

Another Prevention and control

There is no commercially available vaccine for the dengue flavivirus. However, one of the many ongoing vaccine development programs is the Pediatric Dengue Vaccine Initiative (PDVI) which was set up in 2003 with the aim of accelerating the development and introduction of dengue vaccine(s) that are affordable and accessible to poor children in endemic countries.

At present, the only method of controlling or preventing dengue and DHF is to combat the vector mosquitoes.

In Asia and the Americas, Aedes aegypti breeds primarily in man-made containers like earthenware jars, metal drums and concrete cisterns used for domestic water storage, as well as discarded plastic food containers, used automobile tyres and other items that collect rainwater. In Africa it also breeds extensively in natural habitats such as tree holes and leaf axils.

In recent years, Aedes albopictus, a secondary dengue vector in Asia, has become established in: the United States, several Latin American and Caribbean countries, in parts of Europe and in one African country. The rapid geographic spread of this species has been largely attributed to the international trade in used tyres.

Vector control is implemented using environmental management and chemical methods. Proper solid waste disposal and improved water storage practices, including covering containers to prevent access by egg laying female mosquitoes are among methods that are encouraged through community-based programmes.

The application of appropriate insecticides to larval habitats, particularly those which are considered useful by the householders, e.g. water storage vessels, prevent mosquito breeding for several weeks but must be re-applied periodically. Small, mosquito-eating fish and copepods (tiny crustaceans) have also been used with some success. During outbreaks, emergency control measures may also include the application of insecticides as space sprays to kill adult mosquitoes using portable or truck-mounted machines or even aircraft. However, the killing effect is only transient, variable in its effectiveness because the aerosol droplets may not penetrate indoors to microhabitats where adult mosquitoes are sequestered, and the procedure is costly and operationally very demanding. Regular monitoring of the vectors' susceptibility to the most widely used insecticides is necessary to ensure the appropriate choice of chemicals. Active monitoring and surveillance of the natural mosquito population should accompany control efforts in order to determine the impact of the programme.

Application of larvicides such as Abate® to standing water is more effective in the long term control of mosquitoes. Initiatives to eradicate pools of standing water (such as in flowerpots) have proven useful in controlling mosquito-borne diseases. Promising new techniques have been recently reported from Oxford University on rendering the Aedes mosquito pest sterile.

Personal prevention consists of the use of mosquito nets, repellents, cover exposed skin, use DEET-impregnated bednets, and avoiding endemic areas. This is also important for malaria prevention.

Potential Antiviral Approaches

In cell culture experiments Morpholino antisense oligos have shown specific activity against Dengue virus.

In 2002 the Swiss pharma company Novartis and the Singapore Economic Development board created the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases (NITD). NITD is a public-private partnership that researches neglected tropical disease. NITD's dengue unit is researching anti-viral drug discovery to treat or prevent dengue fever.

In 2006, a group of Argentine scientists directed by Andrea Gamarnik discovered the molecular replication mechanism of the virus, which could be attacked by disruption the polymerase's work.

What are signs and symptoms??
How the tests are going??

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