Australian research takes aim at dengue, another killer virus

E. Connors,  Finanacial Review,  2020.

Australian researchers have teamed up with Indonesian philanthropists to strike a blow against dengue fever, the deadly disease that was a growing scourge in south-east Asia and South America long before COVID-19.

The results of a three-year randomised control trial of a prevention method already in use along the north-east coast of Australia suggest there is a way to significantly reduce – and even eliminate – dengue in densely populated areas.

Each year there are an estimated 390 million dengue infections worldwide. About 500,000 of these develop into the more severe dengue fever, which kills about 25,000 people annually. In Indonesia alone, as of Monday there have been 81,525 cases of dengue fever this year, with 520 deaths. Last year an estimated 7 million-plus infections resulted in 112,954 cases of dengue fever and 751 deaths.

In Singapore, where a second wave of COVID-19 has largely been controlled, authorities are facing the worst outbreak of dengue in more than eight years. By late July, more than 20,000 dengue fever cases had been reported, and the city-state expects this year’s total will exceed the record 22, 170 cases recorded in 2013.


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