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Prevention of Dengue Virus Infection

Idris Nasir Abdullahi

By Idris Nasir Abdullahi

Lecturer and Researcher with the Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. Specializes in Medical Virology and committed to studying virus-host-environment interactions in order to elucidate or discover strategies that could halt infectious circle by targeting either the pathogen, vector or host immunological factors.

Dengue virus and its vectors are widely distributed throughout tropical and subtropical countries including Nigeria. Effective vector preventive and control measures are essential strategic direction to reduce dengue-associated morbidity and mortality. The main arthropod vector for transmission of dengue virus (DENV) is Aedes aegypti.[1] In addition, a less effective vector, Aedes albopictus, feeds on multiple species of vertebrates but has not yet been shown to be responsible for some dengue transmission.[2] Significantly, the Aedes mosquitoes are predominantly active during daylight hours, which pose difficulties in controlling the vector.[2] Dengue has been classified as a “neglected topical disease” based on the historical lack of coordinated efforts, political will and research attention despite the significant disease, social and economic burden, it places internationally.[2] This classification has encouraged prioritization of dengue through the WHO’s Global Strategy for Dengue Prevention and Control, 2012–2020.[2]

Sustainable vector control is one technical element of the Global Strategy for Dengue Prevention and Control, 2012–2020. Considering limited therapeutic strategies and unavailability of dengue vaccine in most endemic countries, effective vector control methods are an essential component of the strategic direction to reduce dengue-associated mortality and morbidity. Residence in proximity to waste dump sites represents an environmental determinant and increase the risk of DENV infection. Vectors of DENV in the urban cycle lay eggs in artificial water containers that could be found in many homes and waste dump sites.[3] This practice encourages vector population and expansion and invariably places people who reside in such communities at high risk of contracting dengue.[3]

Considering the increase in the dengue incidence worldwide, it is essential to reflect on the impact of knowledge and practice of available preventive measures on the occurrence of acute dengue among people living in dengue-endemic areas. After ethical approval from the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, interviewer-administered questionnaires were used to assess subjects’ knowledge, attitude and preventive measures against DENV infection while blood samples were individually collected from corresponding 171 febrile patients to test for DENV nonstructural protein-1 (NS-1) using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Data were analyzed for statistical association between DENV NS1 and various preventive measures adopted by subjects. In total, 15 of the 171 febrile patients (8.8%) were found to be DENV NS1 positive. Further, 60% of the subjects did not know about dengue virus infection, whereas 33% knew about DENV infection through television/radio programs, 5% through health-care professionals and 2% from friends/families. It was also found that those who persistently used indoor insecticide and long sleeves/trousers during daytime had lesser prevalence of DENV NS1 than those who did not. There was statistical association between DENV NS1 and residence in proximity to waste dump sites (P < 0.0001) and the frequent use of long sleeve clothing and trousers (P = 0.005). However, there was no statistical association between the prevalence of DENV NS1 and persistent use of indoor insecticide and presence of indoor water containers (P > 0.05). Findings from this study revealed that majority of febrile patients do not know about dengue and that consistent adoption of vector-preventive measures significantly reduce chances of contracting acute dengue virus infection.



1. WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia. Comprehensive Guidelines for Prevention and Control of Dengue and Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever, Revised and Expanded Edition. New Delhi: World Health Organisation South East Asia Regional Office; 2011.

2. World Health Organization. Global strategy for dengue prevention and control, 2012-2020. Geneva: WHO Press; 2012. 

3. Siregar FA, Abdullah MR, Omar J, Sarumpaet SM, Supriyadi T, Makmur T, et al. Social and environmental determinants of dengue infection risk in North Sumatera province, Indonesia. Asian J Epidemiol. 2015;8:23–35.