New guidelines can help health officials better predict and control dengue epidemics

e to long-term, community-owned programs for larval control." Instead, they say, the guidelines are intended to provide two key insights regarding larval control and its use in avoiding dengue epidemics.

First, larval control measures do not need to be 100% effective, or even 90% effective, in order to be cost-saving. The evidence in Puerto Rico suggests that a number of larval control programs emphasizing the emptying, cleaning, treating, and removal of containers and other sites where eggs are laid are likely to result in overall savings for the community.

Second, the study's findings are meant to "provide incentives for the incorporation of types of early warning systems, which may have substantial benefits even if they are not always 100% accurate." In particular, systems that provide some indication of an increased likelihood of higher levels of dengue transmission may warrant more intensive larval control efforts. Thus, improved surveillance of dengue transmission may lead to economic benefits in areas where this surveillance can be used to predict epidemic-level dengue transmission.

The article can be viewed for free in the PAHO Online Bookstore Web site, at http://publications.paho.org. Additional information on dengue fever is available from the CDC Web site, at http://www.cdc.gov.


Contact: Mara Luisa Clark
Pan American Health Organization

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