Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tracking spread of dengue fever: Domestic networks drive rapid transmission of human infection

Date:
January 24, 2013
Source:
Emory University
Summary:
The mosquitoes that spread dengue fever tap into the domestic networks of humans, along with their bloodstreams, finds a new study. The research project shows that the trail of the most rapid transmission of human infections does not lead through large, public gathering places, as might be expected, but from house-to-house, as people visit nearby friends and relatives.

Substandard houses in Iquitos are havens for the mosquitoes that spread dengue.
Credit: Loic LUCIDE / Fotolia

The mosquitoes that spread dengue fever tap into the domestic networks of humans, along with their bloodstreams, finds a study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The data from Iquitos, Peru, shows that the trail of the most rapid transmission of human infections does not lead through large, public gathering places, as might be expected, but from house-to-house, as people visit nearby friends and relatives.

"It's common in a dengue fever outbreak to first treat public places like schools for mosquitoes, but our results show the focus needs to be on residential networks," says disease ecologist Gonzalo Vazquez-Prokopec.

Vazquez-Prokopec and Uriel Kitron, both from Emory University's department of environmental studies, conducted the spatial-temporal analysis as co-authors of the study, led by Steve Stoddard and Thomas Scott from the University of California, Davis. The research is part of a major, ongoing dengue project that also includes scientists from the U.S. Navy; the University of Iowa; Tulane University; San Diego State; and researchers in Peru.

"On a global scale, human air travel is known as a driver of dengue virus circulation, but this is the first time we've quantified the powerful impact of human movement on the small scale of neighborhoods," Vazquez-Prokopec says.

The tropical disease is caused by a virus that is passed from the blood of one person to another through the bites of mosquitoes. Also known as "break-bone fever," dengue causes debilitating pain leading to the hospitalization of many sufferers. Severe cases can be fatal.

"It is vicious, and rapidly growing as a threat," Vazquez-Prokopec says.

During the last 50 years, the incidence of dengue has increased 30-fold and more than half the world's population is now at risk. The World Health Organization estimates that 50-100 million dengue infections occur each year. That number is expected to rise as the climate warms and the trend toward urbanization continues.

During 2009 and 2010, dengue fever emerged for the first time in decades in the contiguous United States, when an outbreak in the Florida Keys led to 93 cases.

"There is no vaccine for dengue. The only way to control outbreaks is to kill the vectors -- mosquitoes," Vazquez-Prokopec says. Many of the places affected have poor public health infrastructure, he adds, so it's critical to identify the most effective places to spray for the insects.

A 2009 outbreak of dengue in Iquitos killed at least 24 people and drove almost 1,000 sufferers to the hospital, where cots had to be set up in stairwells and hallways to handle the flood of patients.

A city of 400,000 located deep in the Amazonian rain forest, Iquitos is essentially an island, only accessible by boat or plane. The city has high unemployment, and the housing is often substandard. Water is stored in open containers in crowded homes that lack air-conditioning, or even window screens. These factors make the homes havens for Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the primary vector for the dengue virus. These mosquitoes feast almost exclusively on human blood, bite during the day, and have a limited flight range of about 100 meters.

To study how the dengue virus spreads through Iquitos, the researchers tracked and mapped outbreak patterns of two large neighborhoods, encompassing hundreds of homes, over several years. When a case of dengue was confirmed through a blood test, social workers would interview the patient, recording all the places the patient went during the 15 days leading up to the onset of fever. Mosquitos were collected from as many of these locations as possible and tested to determine if they carried the virus.

The data from interviews of 2,000 people was plotted over time and space using geographic information systems (GIS) technology.

"People appear to be getting infected most often in homes, but not necessarily their own homes," Vazquez-Prokopec says. "The main driver is people visiting friends and relatives in nearby homes."

Interviews with dengue patients revealed that two-thirds of them had visited the same location.

"We suspect that the importance of human movement that we observed in Iquitos will hold in other populations and for other pathogens transmitted by the mosquitos that spread dengue," Vazquez-Prokopec says. "The findings provide a different way for thinking about how a vector-borne pathogen may spread through a population, and have implications for better disease surveillance and control."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Emory University. The original article was written by Carol Clark. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. T. Stoddard, B. M. Forshey, A. C. Morrison, V. A. Paz-Soldan, G. M. Vazquez-Prokopec, H. Astete, R. C. Reiner, S. Vilcarromero, J. P. Elder, E. S. Halsey, T. J. Kochel, U. Kitron, T. W. Scott. House-to-house human movement drives dengue virus transmission. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012; 110 (3): 994 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1213349110

Cite This Page:

Emory University. "Tracking spread of dengue fever: Domestic networks drive rapid transmission of human infection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130124123455.htm>.
Emory University. (2013, January 24). Tracking spread of dengue fever: Domestic networks drive rapid transmission of human infection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130124123455.htm
Emory University. "Tracking spread of dengue fever: Domestic networks drive rapid transmission of human infection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130124123455.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) The World Health Organizations says TB numbers rose in 2013, but it's partly due to better detection and more survivors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins