Vietnam Applies New Strategy Against Dengue Fever

Vietnam has a new approach
on fighting dengue fever
© Hemera

Brian Kay of the Royal Brisbane Hospital in Queensland, Australia, and Vu Sinh Nam of the Vietnamese Ministry of Health developed a mosquito control strategy and evaluated it in twelve provinces in Vietnam from 1998 to 2003.

Their strategy involves inoculating large water storages with crustaceans called Mesocyclops, which feed on mosquito larvae and targeting containers that produce the most mosquito larvae. Community education and activities, such as the collection of discarded containers, also form an important part of the strategy.

The authors report that the major global vector of dengue viruses, the mosquito Aedes aegypti, has been eradicated in most villages in the programme and no cases of dengue fever have been reported in any of the villages since 2002. The findings suggest that this strategy is sustainable in Vietnam and applicable where the major sources of A. aegypti are large water storage containers.

Professor Brian Kay concludes: "Although the government of Vietnam has adopted this strategy into their national programme, the challenge is to transfer this framework to the rest of Southeast Asia and beyond.

Whereas the hierarchical structure of society in Vietnam undoubtedly affected successful adoption of our model, we judge the key factor in motivating communities to be perception of the seriousness of the dengue problem. As the global prognosis is poor, we predict that this model, or modification of it, will become increasingly important.”

In an accompanying commentary, Simon Hales of the Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences in New Zealand states: "Kay and Nam show that low-technology approaches to vector control can be effective if well planned and supported, with strong emphasis on community participation. Their strategy is not a universal answer to the problem of dengue, but has the potential to make an important difference in rural communities.”; Source: The Lancet