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On dengue, act locally, urges new report

Schoolchildren participate in a dengue prevention program at a school in Phnom Penh Thmey in 2014.
Schoolchildren participate in a dengue prevention program at a school in Phnom Penh Thmey in 2014. Vireak Mai

On dengue, act locally, urges new report

Efforts to catch and fight dengue outbreaks in Cambodia are more likely to be effective if they are conducted at the provincial level, according to a study published last week in online science journal BioMed Central.

The research confirmed prior studies that dengue becomes more of a threat with rising temperatures. But dengue’s response to rainfall and humidity is more complex and differs province by province, the study found.

Further, the amount of time each province has to react to a potential outbreak can vary as well.

“A . . . dengue early warning system would likely be best implemented at a local or regional scale, rather than nationwide,” the researchers found. “Such spatial down-scaling would also enable dengue control measures to be better targeted, timed and implemented.”

The study, whose authors included members of the WHO, the National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control and Australian and Japanese universities, looked at Banteay Meanchey, Siem Reap and Kampong Thom provinces from 1998 to 2012.

The results showed that dengue’s association with changes in rainfall were sometimes statistically significant and sometimes not. Different provinces had different lag times between changes in rainfall and the dengue virus’s reaction to them.

“Rainfall events, generally, can create breeding habitats for juvenile Aedes mosquitoes and subsequently lead to increasing mosquito abundance,” the authors wrote. “However, mosquito abundance and breeding habitats can be destroyed by a heavy spell of rainfall, as it can flush away larvae and pupae.”

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