Better Lives Blog
Thursday, October 2, 2014

Finding Insights and Inspiration at a Dengue Testing Site

Fei Gao 


I recently had the pleasure traveling to Iquitos, Peru to see a Dengue testing site.

surveying a home

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the Dengue virus. It is transmitted by the bite of a mosquito infected with Dengue virus. Symptoms may include headache, body pain, rash and fever.

The fever Dengue causes can range from mild to severe hemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal. There is currently no vaccine to treat Dengue. The World Health Organization estimates that there will be 50 to 100 million infections every year, and 40 percent of the world’s population is at risk.

The site is run by NAMRU6, a U.S. Marine medical research center. Besides being in the country of Peru for the first time, which is pretty amazing in and of itself, my biggest shock (in a great way) is how professional and dedicated the local team is to their work.

The research site has been set up, maintained and perfected for over a decade. What you are seeing in this photo is the team surveying a home for presence of Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae. Aedes aegypti is the type of mosquito that transmits Dengue Fever, and they live and breed just about anywhere. From the inside of a tire, to the shallowest puddle of water on top of a paint can, they are part of the many challenges we face in fighting Dengue.

The team tracks and records hundreds of homes like this one every day. The data is well recorded and stored in a state-of-the-art database and is then used by researchers around the world to unveil deep insights about prevention strategies, effectiveness of new treatments, the economic and social impact of the diseases, and so on.

The sheer amount of work and the level of attention to detail the team gives to their work is awe-inspiring. To me, that shows the commitment and passion this team in Peru has toward the cause of preventing and eradicating mosquito borne diseases. I am more excited than ever now that our SC Johnson BOP team is working with this team to test one of our innovative products.

inspecting captured mosquitoes 

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