Center for Global Development and Sustainability

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

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Pesticide-free screening for reduction of Dengue Fever

This project designs and conducts trials in Asia and Africa for the use of window and door screens to reduce the incidence of the mosquito-borne diseases of dengue and malaria. Half the world’s population is at risk of serious illness and death from these diseases, especially children under 5. With no vaccines and with anti-malaria drug resistance a recurring problem, environmental controls for malaria have focused on elimination of breeding sites in stagnant pools of water and on aggressive treatment after diagnosis. Pesticide-impregnated bed nets have been disseminated widely to protect against the night-time transmission of malaria (via Anopheles mosquito) and new pesticide-impregnated wall liners are even under review.

Photo of full-grown mosquito in the Philippines

Dengue, on the other hand, is widespread in numerous countries. With no vaccine or adequate treatment for more serious cases, dengue poses a major health threat. Moreover, dengue mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti and, to a lesser extent, A. albopictus) are day-feeding species necessitating alternative means to limit exposure in the home, school and workplace. Oddly, the use of the simplest and safest technology, window and door screens, is largely unknown in most developing countries. This project will seek to demonstrate their effectiveness in reducing the incidence of disease and mortality, as well as health care costs and lost productivity, and to establish micro- and small businesses to provide low-cost services of joiners and carpenters to measure and frame diverse and unevenly-shaped windows and doors and install and maintain screens. Laurence Simon. GDS Director, and Vinya Ariyaratne, GDS Researcher and General Secretary of Sarvodaya Shramadana in Sri Lanka, are the Principal Investigators.

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