Nav: Home

Mosquito control program reduces dengue, costs in Sri Lanka

June 05, 2019

A public health, police, and military partnership to reduce the mosquito population in Sri Lanka resulted in a more than 50-percent reduction in dengue, as well as cost savings, finds a study from an international team of researchers led by NYU College of Global Public Health. The findings are published in The Lancet Planetary Health.

Dengue is a viral illness transmitted by mosquitoes and can cause fever, pain, rash, and other flu-like symptoms. Severe cases require hospitalization, placing an economic burden on areas where dengue is found. While a new dengue vaccine raised hope about reducing the impact of the disease, the vaccine's risks have limited its use, maintaining the focus on controlling mosquito populations to halt the spread of the disease.

Dengue is particularly prevalent in countries in south Asia and has become a major public health problem in Sri Lanka, which has seen a dramatic increase in the disease in recent years. In response, in 2014, Sri Lanka's Ministry of Health started a proactive mosquito control program in partnership with its military and police forces.

The program aimed to reduce mosquitos in high-risk communities by conducting door-to-door inspections on a large scale. Teams made up of a combination of public health authorities, police, and military personnel inspected at least 50 locations daily in order to identify and remove mosquito breeding sites, such as containers of stagnant water around homes. The program augmented the routine mosquito control interventions with larvicides and insecticides.

This study evaluated the impact of the mosquito control intervention from June 2014 to December 2016 in an urban region in western Sri Lanka highly affected by dengue. The researchers analyzed the rates of dengue in symptomatic patients in the presence and absence of the intervention, adjusting for climate variables, including rainfall and temperature, to measure the program's impact. The researchers also assessed the cost and cost-effectiveness of the program.

"Evaluating the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of population-level interventions is essential for guiding public health planning and empowering policy makers to deploy the most effective and efficient interventions, particularly in resource-limited settings," said Yesim Tozan, assistant professor of global health at NYU College of Global Public Health and the study's senior author.

The mosquito control program had a significant effect on larval mosquito populations in the region as well as on dengue, with researchers measuring a 57-percent reduction in dengue incidence. They estimate that 2,192 cases of dengue were averted during the 31-month intervention.

The program cost $271,615, the majority (89 percent) of which went to personnel, given the human resource-intensive nature of the intervention involving door-to-door inspections and removal of mosquito breeding places. To analyze its cost-effectiveness, the researchers calculated costs using three scenarios of the proportion of dengue cases treated in hospitals: moderate hospitalization (50 percent), low hospitalization (25 percent), and high hospitalization (75 percent).

The researchers found that the cost savings from treating fewer dengue cases in medical settings thanks to the intervention were $291,990 in the moderate hospitalization scenario, offsetting the mosquito control program costs and yielding a savings of $20,247. The program was estimated to avert 176 disability-adjusted life-years over the study period, or $98 in savings per disability-adjusted life-year. The scenario with high hospitalization levels was also cost saving, while the scenario with low hospitalization was cost-effective based on certain calculations but not others.

"Our study suggests that communities affected by dengue can benefit from investments in mosquito control if interventions are implemented rigorously and coordinated across sectors. By doing so, it is possible to reduce the disease and economic burden of dengue," said Prasad Liyanage of the Sri Lanka Ministry of Health and Umeå University in Sweden and the study's lead author.

"Even if a safe dengue vaccine becomes available in the future, mosquito control is likely to remain a key complementary strategy to curtail the continued spread and intensification of dengue," said Tozan.
-end-
In addition to Tozan and Liyanage, study authors include Joacim Rocklöv of Umeå University; Hasitha Tissera and Paba Palihawadana of the Sri Lanka Ministry of Health; and Annelies Wilder-Smith of Umeå University and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

About NYU College of Global Public Health

At the NYU College of Global Public Health (NYU GPH), we are preparing the next generation of public health pioneers with the critical thinking skills, acumen, and entrepreneurial approaches necessary to reinvent the public health paradigm. Devoted to employing a nontraditional, inter-disciplinary model, NYU GPH aims to improve health worldwide through a unique blend of global public health studies, research and practice. The College is located in the heart of New York City and extends to NYU's global network on six continents. Innovation is at the core of our ambitious approach, thinking and teaching. For more, visit: publichealth.nyu.edu

New York University

Related Public Health Articles:

The Lancet Public Health: Access to identification documents reflecting gender identity may improve trans mental health
Results from a survey of over 20,000 American trans adults suggest that having access to identification documents which reflect their identified gender helps to improve their mental health and may reduce suicidal thoughts, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health journal.
The Lancet Public Health: Study estimates mental health impact of welfare reform, Universal Credit, in Great Britain
The 2013 Universal Credit welfare reform appears to have led to an increase in the prevalence of psychological distress among unemployed recipients, according to a nationally representative study following more than 52,000 working-age individuals from England, Wales, and Scotland over nine years between 2009-2018, published as part of an issue of The Lancet Public Health journal on income and health.
BU researchers: Pornography is not a 'public health crisis'
Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have written an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health special February issue arguing against the claim that pornography is a public health crisis, and explaining why such a claim actually endangers the health of the public.
The Lancet Public Health: Ageism linked to poorer health in older people in England
Ageism may be linked with poorer health in older people in England, according to an observational study of over 7,500 people aged over 50 published in The Lancet Public Health journal.
Study: Public transportation use linked to better public health
Promoting robust public transportation systems may come with a bonus for public health -- lower obesity rates.
Bloomberg American Health Initiative releases special public health reports supplement
With US life expectancy now on the decline for two consecutive years, the Bloomberg American Health Initiative is releasing a supplement to Public Health Reports, the scholarly journal of the US Surgeon General.
Data does the heavy lifting: Encouraging new public health approaches to promote the health benefits of muscle-strengthening exercise (MSE)
According to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, almost 75 percent of US adults do not comply with public health guidelines recommending two or more muscle-strengthening exercise (MSE) sessions a week, with nearly 60 percent of the population doing no MSE at all.
The Lancet Public Health: Moderate carbohydrate intake may be best for health
Low-carb diets that replace carbohydrates with proteins and fats from plant sources associated with lower risk of mortality compared to those that replace carbohydrates with proteins and fat from animal sources.
Mass. public safety, public health agencies collaborate to address the opioid epidemic
A new study shows that public health and public safety agencies established local, collaborative programs in Massachusetts to connect overdose survivors and their personal networks with addiction treatment, harm reduction, and other community support services following a non-fatal overdose.
Cyber attacks can threaten public health
Gordon and Landman have authored a Perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine that addresses the growing threat of attacks on information systems and the potential implications on public health.
More Public Health News and Public Health Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans 2.0
More than test scores or good grades–what do kids need for the future? This hour, TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, both during and after this time of crisis. Guests include educators Richard Culatta and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#556 The Power of Friendship
It's 2020 and times are tough. Maybe some of us are learning about social distancing the hard way. Maybe we just are all a little anxious. No matter what, we could probably use a friend. But what is a friend, exactly? And why do we need them so much? This week host Bethany Brookshire speaks with Lydia Denworth, author of the new book "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Space
One of the most consistent questions we get at the show is from parents who want to know which episodes are kid-friendly and which aren't. So today, we're releasing a separate feed, Radiolab for Kids. To kick it off, we're rerunning an all-time favorite episode: Space. In the 60's, space exploration was an American obsession. This hour, we chart the path from romance to increasing cynicism. We begin with Ann Druyan, widow of Carl Sagan, with a story about the Voyager expedition, true love, and a golden record that travels through space. And astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson explains the Coepernican Principle, and just how insignificant we are. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.