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Experts Call On Countries to Accelerate Regional Collaboration to Tackle Dengue Crisis

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— Infectious diseases experts and public health authorities unite at Asia Dengue Summit to address rising dengue burden
— Asia saw one of the worst outbreaks in 2016 with several countries — Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka — reporting a record high

MANILA, Philippines /PRNewswire/ — Over the past year, many countries in Asia have witnessed an alarming rise in the number of dengue cases that account for more than 70% of the global dengue cases[1].  This translates to an overwhelming 273 million dengue infections per year out of the projected 390 million[2] cases both reported and unreported worldwide.

In light of the rapidly increasing burden, leading infectious disease experts from around the world together with government officials, policymakers and public health authorities will convene at the Asia Dengue Summit to identify strategies that can effectively support Asian countries in their fight against dengue.

The two-day Summit, which will start in Manila on March 1, is organized by the Asian Dengue Vaccination Advocacy (ADVA), a scientific working group, in partnership with the South East Asian Ministers of Education Tropical Medicine and Public Health Network (SEAMEO TROPMED).

Experts at the summit will discuss the concrete steps needed to address the worrying rise in dengue cases as well as new developments in the area of prevention and control. The outcome at the Summit will help in formulating a roadmap for countries in Asia to implement collaborative and cost-effective strategies for dengue prevention and vector control measures.

Speaking at the sidelines of the Summit, Prof Usa Thisyakorn, Professor of Pediatrics at Chulalongkorn University and Chairman of ADVA, said, “The success of the inaugural Asia Dengue Summit (ADS) last year shows that countries acknowledge the need to join forces to tackle the situation in Asia. A collaborative approach which encourages the sharing of research findings, epidemiological trends, disease surveillance methods and vaccine implementation strategies will allow countries to harmonise their existing dengue prevention and control efforts. In the war against dengue countries should fight together, not alone.”

“At the Summit this year, we aim to build on the on-going efforts of countries, strengthen the implementation of vector control, as well as prevention measures such as the use of the dengue vaccine that can ultimately benefit the local population,” Prof Thisyakorn further added.

ONE OF THE MOST PRESSING HEALTHCARE ISSUES OF OUR TIMES

Dengue continues to be one of the most devastating and prevalent mosquito-borne viral diseases on the planet. In the last 50 years, this deadly disease has spread from a handful of countries to over 128 countries and the incidence has increased 30-fold in this time.

The severe burden comes at a great cost  financially and in the number of lives lost. Worldwide, dengue is estimated to cost about $9 billion annually, and in Southeast Asia, the economic toll for dengue was estimated at almost $1 billion on average per year from 2001 to 2010[3].

External factors such as unprecedented urbanization and globalisation have resulted in large mosquito populations living in association with crowded human populations, leading in increased transmission and geographic spread of the viruses, making it difficult to combat dengue outbreaks. In addition, environmental factors including inadequate housing, water, sewage and waste management systems have contributed to an increase in the Aedes Aegypti mosquito populations.

This calls for urgent intervention and collaboration between countries towards detection, management and control to stem the spread of dengue across the region.

Prof Duane Gubler, Emeritus Professor, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore, and Chair of Global Dengue and Aedes-Transmitted Diseases Consortium, said, “The Summit represents a major turning point in Asia’s fight against dengue as more countries unite to strengthen and sustain cross-border efforts. Dengue is a disease that must be controlled at the regional level.  Countries should continue this momentum at the grassroots via public education and at the national level through vector control and vaccination.”

“The recently released WHO position paper on dengue vaccine supports the use of vaccination to help prevent dengue as part of a comprehensive dengue control strategy in each endemic country, especially in areas where there is a high burden of disease,” Prof Gubler further said.

The dengue vaccine could serve as a new line of defense to complement vector control and other prevention efforts by governments, families and individuals, having a greater impact on the disease burden, keeping dengue under control. WHO has laid out the goal of the global strategy to reduce the dengue mortality by 50% and morbidity by 25% by 2020 in endemic countries[4].

BUILDING A KNOWLEDGE ECOSYSTEM

Philippines was the first country in Asia to approve the use of the dengue vaccine in December 2015. Since then four other Asian countries, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Cambodia, have approved the vaccine for use for the age group of 9-45 year olds broadly.

Advocating an information-sharing approach to effectively control the disease from reaching epidemic proportions, Prof Lulu Bravo, Professor of Pediatric Infectious and Tropical Diseases, University of the Philippines Manila, said, “Philippines has been a front-runner in dengue prevention and became the first country in the world to launch a public immunisation programme. At the Summit, we will share our first-hand experience over the last one year, which shows that vaccine introduction should be part of a comprehensive dengue control strategy, including well-executed and sustained vector control, evidence-based best practices for clinical care and strong dengue surveillance.”

The Summit will serve as a platform for the sharing of best practices and knowledge exchange among countries. New models for ongoing dengue efforts such as the recent Wolbachia study conducted in Singapore, which showed that male Wolbachia-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitoes could help in suppressing the population of urban Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, and other initiatives including community engagement and outreach programmes.

About Asian Dengue Vaccine Advocacy (ADVA):

The Asian Dengue Vaccine Advocacy (ADVA) Group is a scientific working group dedicated to dengue vaccine advocacy in Asia, with the aim of disseminating information and making recommendations on dengue vaccine introduction strategies in Asia.

ADVA was set up in 2011 to identify opportunities and make practical recommendations for improving surveillance and laboratory capacity for dengue disease confirmation. For more information, you may visit ADVA’s website here.

Media Contact for ADVA:

Shruti Bose
+65-6825-8018
SBose@webershandwick.com

Clarinda Ng
+65-6825-8042
CNg2@webershandwick.com

Sources:

Source: Asian Dengue Vaccination Advocacy (ADVA)

Written by asiafreshnews

March 1, 2017 at 12:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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