Contact tracing and targeted insecticide spraying can curb dengue outbreaks

Contact tracing -- a process of identifying everyone who has come into contact with those infected by a particular disease -- combined with targeted, indoor spraying of insecticide can greatly reduce the spread of the mosquito-borne dengue virus, finds a study led by Emory University researchers funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The results were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine and based on analyses from a 2009 outbreak of dengue in Cairns, Australia.

The new approach of using contact tracing to identify houses for targeted insecticide spraying was between 86 and 96 percent effective in controlling dengue fever during the Cairns outbreak, research shows. By comparison, vaccines for the dengue virus are only 30 to 70 percent effective, depending on the type of virus -- or serotype -- involved.

PBEE faculty member Gonzalo M. Vazquez-Prokopec, PhD is mentioned in this story. "We've provided evidence for a method that is highly effective at preventing transmission of diseases carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito in a developed, urban setting. We've also shown the importance of human movement when conducting surveillance of these diseases," he said.

Click here to view the full press release on the National Science Foundation (NSF) website.