Mobilizing Strategic Partnerships for Dengue Control

Despite increased efforts in Aedes control, case management and dengue prevention - the number of weekly cases in Southeast Asia continue to rise at an alarming rate.

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ASEAN Dengue Day was established by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2010 and has been observed every year on June 15 to raise awareness on this mosquito-borne disease, which has become increasingly widespread over the last decade. Today, around 3.5 billion people worldwide live in countries where dengue is endemic and Southeast Asia (SEA) contributes to over 50% of the global burden of dengue. People living in dengue-affected countries are at risk of contracting dengue fever; and SEA nations Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand are among the 30 most highly endemic countries in the world. [1]

The World Health Organization (WHO) believes the expansion and distribution of dengue are due to some factors such as a rise in tourism, increasing population growth, insufficient water supply and poor storage practices, sewer, and waste management systems, global warming and the development of hyper-endemicity in urban areas. Despite increased efforts in Aedes control, case management and dengue prevention - the number of weekly cases in SEA continue to rise at an alarming rate. Between 17 to 23 April 2022, an increase of 155% dengue cases (941) were reported in Singapore compared to the same period in 2021. Malaysia also saw an increase of 35.3% (11,921 cumulative) from last year during the same period (week 16 of 2022). [2] As of 31 March 2022, Indonesia has reported 22,331 infections and 229 deaths.[3]

The theme this year is ‘ASEAN’s Resilience Against Dengue Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic’ to showcase the region’s dedication to keep battling the disease despite the continued burden and impact COVID-19 has had on healthcare systems across SEA because public health experts are fully aware that a pause in efforts would result in serious consequences to dengue-endemic communities.[4] And these public experts are not alone in their endeavors to manage this disease as countries begin recovering from the effects of an ongoing global pandemic.

A recent example is the Environmental Science (ES) team’s work in Indonesia. They are supporting researchers from the Nuclear Energy Research Organization, National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), National Chung Hsing University, Institut Teknologi Bandung, and local government agencies, including the Ministry of Health (KEMENKES), in their field trial by applying water-based space sprays to help reduce mosquito populations early and outdoor residual sprays to create a buffer zone that prevents mosquitoes from travelling into or out of the trial sites where sterile male mosquitoes are released. “Through this collaboration, we hope to find a new way to reduce the incidence of dengue” says Rio Reyno Elia, Market Development Manager, ES Indonesia. “We believe the field trial results will bring insight into vector control applications, especially where different intervention tools are paired with different mode of actions promise a high impact in reducing mosquito populations in highly urban areas.”

On this ASEAN Dengue Day, we share our continued commitment to safeguarding healthy environments for everyone, everywhere. At ES we will continue providing our public health partners with the tools to fight dengue - from advocating the need for prevention and control, supporting public education campaigns, training government spraymen; to creating a platform for public health experts to openly exchange dialogue on mosquito control. We remain undeterred, as we have in the past 50 years, in our mission to keep finding different and/or new ways that will help our partners solve current challenges; and foster a healthier world for the benefit of our communities.