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Dengue Fever Costs Puerto Rico Nearly $38M A Year, Study Shows

“The costs of treating and coping with dengue fever in Puerto Rico total nearly $38 million a year, a new study,” published Wednesday in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, finds, according to U.S. News & World Report. “It also said that every $1 spent on surveillance and prevention of the mosquito-borne disease could save $5 in illness-related costs,” the news service reports (5/2). “A team of researchers from Brandeis University says households in the U.S. territory pay almost half of that cost, with the government and insurance companies splitting the rest,” the Associated Press/Seattle Times notes (5/2).

Growing Number Of Dengue Cases In India Increases Risk Of Disease Spreading Worldwide, Experts Warn

“An epidemic of dengue fever in India is fostering a growing sense of alarm even as government officials here have publicly refused to acknowledge the scope of a problem that experts say is threatening hundreds of millions of people, not just in India but around the world,” the New York Times reports. Dengue is endemic in half of the world’s countries and continuing to spread, experts say, according to the newspaper. In India’s capital, New Delhi, “where areas of standing water contribute to the epidemic’s growth, hospitals are overrun and feverish patients are sharing beds and languishing in hallways,” the newspaper writes. With officials citing 30,002 cases of dengue in India through October, “a 59 percent jump from the 18,860 recorded for all of 2011,” several experts say the true number of infections in the country is in the tens of millions, the New York Times notes.

Sri Lankan Presidential Task Force Against Dengue Seeing Success

“Sri Lanka is making progress in the battle against mosquito-borne dengue fever, say health officials,” IRIN reports. According to the health ministry, 26,722 dengue cases were reported in 2011, down from 34,105 cases in 2010, and the number of dengue-related deaths dropped from 246 to 172, IRIN notes. Officials credit the establishment in May 2010 of an “anti-dengue Presidential Task Force — involving the ministries of health, defense, the environment, education, and local government, and headed by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa” — for the drop in cases, IRIN writes. The agencies worked together to launch widespread education campaigns, “clea[n] up areas suspected of being mosquito breeding grounds,” and impose fines for illegal dumping, according to the news agency (12/29).

Financial Times Features Special Report On NTDs

The Financial Times has published a special report (.pdf) on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) featuring 10 articles examining issues including prevention, research, and treatment.

Also In Global Health News: Health Workers In Zimbabwe; Boston Globe Examines Aid; Foreign Doctors In Haiti; Dengue In New Delhi; HIV Drug Resistance

American Health Workers Now Await Trial In Zimbabwe  Today, a Zimbabwean court released on bail four American citizens who were jailed and accused of dispensing AIDS drugs without proper licenses last week, the Associated Press reports. Six “health care workers,”  including a Zimbabwean and New Zealand national, were ordered to pay $200 bail,…

NIAID Launches Clinical Trials Of Dengue Vaccine

After more than a decade of development, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has started clinical trials to test a vaccine to protect against the dengue virus, a product researchers hope may one day “help prevent a disease to which 2.5 billion people are exposed,” CIDRAP News reports (Roos, 8/9).

PAHO Documents Increase In Dengue Fever Cases In Latin America

Countries in Latin America “are bracing this year for a particularly virulent outbreak of the mosquito-borne tropical disease” known as dengue fever, after reports show an increase in the number of cases recorded this year, Agence France-Presse reports. “The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) said so far it has logged some 146,000 cases in the first three months of the year, of which 79 have been fatal. This time last year there were some 79,000 cases of dengue reported, with 26 deaths,” the news service writes.

Also In Global Health News: Halted WFP Operations In Somalia; India Food Security; Dengue In Puerto Rico; MDR-TB In Peru

Militants In Somalia Demand WFP Halt Operations “Somalia’s Islamist al-Shabaab militia ordered the World Food Programme [WFP] to halt operations in the country, accusing the United Nations agency of undermining domestic agriculture and supporting foreign troops,” Bloomberg/BusinessWeek reports (Omar, 3/1). “Even in the best years, arid Somalia is only able…

Flightless Mosquitoes Could Fight Dengue, Study Says

By rendering female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes – the dengue virus vector – unable to fly, scientists say they may be able to slow the spread of the virus which experts believe “affects up to 100 million people a year and threatens over a third of the world’s population,” the BBC reports. Currently, there is no treatment for dengue nor a vaccine to protect against the virus.