Prevention and control of dengue—the light at the end of the tunnel


Advances in the development of new dengue control tools, including vaccines and vector control, herald a new era of desperately needed dengue prevention and control. The burden of dengue has expanded for decades, and now affects more than 120 countries. Complex, large-scale global forces have and will continue to contribute to the expansion of dengue, including population growth, unplanned urbanisation, and suboptimal mosquito control in urban centres. Although no so-called magic bullets are available, there is new optimism following the first licensure of a dengue vaccine and other promising vaccine candidates, and the development of novel vector control interventions to help control dengue and other expanding mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika virus. Implementation of effective and sustainable immunisation programmes to complement existing methods will add complexity to the health systems of affected countries, which have varying levels of robustness and maturity. Long-term high prioritisation and adequate resources are needed. The way forward is full commitment to addressing a complex disease with a set of solutions integrating vaccination and vector control methods. A whole systems approach is thus needed to integrate these various approaches and strategies for controlling dengue within the goal of universal health coverage. The ultimate objective of these interventions will be to reduce the disease burden in a sustainable and equitable manner.

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