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Understand Human Movement Pattern to Stop Mosquito-borne Illnesses, Says Study

The transmission of vector-borne diseases is affected by various types of host movement and a standard method may not help to deal with all the diseases.

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Updated:August 29, 2019, 2:05 PM IST
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Understand Human Movement Pattern to Stop Mosquito-borne Illnesses, Says Study
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Monsoon works as the perfect temperature for the breeding of mosquitoes, which in turn bring in with them a lot of mosquito-borne diseases. While mosquitoes are not the causes, they act as a vector in transmitting the parasites from an infected person to a healthy person, thus spreading the monsoon diseases. From Malaria, Dengue, Chikungunya to Zika and Japanese encephalitis, monsoon brings with it several uninvited mosquito-borne diseases.

To prevent and mitigate these vector-borne diseases, it is important to control the vectors, which are the mosquitoes. However, the transmission of vector-borne diseases is affected by various types of host movement and a standard method may not help to deal with all the diseases. A study published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, co-authored by a University of Tennessee, Knoxville professor, has now focused on evaluating human behavior, including their commuted areas and living habits, as a way to mitigation these vectors.

To do the study, the researchers examined three tropical urban centers, including San Juan, Recife, and Jakarta, which have recently been exposed to Zika and/or dengue infections. The researchers studied whether the distribution of human populations and resulting commuting flows affects the optimal scale at which control interventions should be implemented.

Using the flow of the commuters to and from the affected area and human distribution data in different scenarios, the research concluded with the result of the involvement of human pattern in eliminating the vector-borne disease. Researchers derived the result that an investment in control measures and the efficacy of those measures affect disease risks. In other words, controlling the human movement in an affected area can be helpful in improving controlled responses to outbreaks.

The article focused on how human behavior plays a critical role in determining the outcome of (re)emerging epidemics. They have tried to prove how the human movement has been a common phenomenon in both the global spread of pathogens and local clustering of cases. Also, in the case of vector-borne diseases, the dispersal of vectors also depends on movement across different scales by human hosts, who can equally contribute to the transmission of vector-borne diseases.

Therefore, as claimed by the researchers, focusing on the movement of humans could help in targeting both the areas of origin and the areas where onward transmission may occur. The article has been written by Chris M. Stone, Samantha R. Schwab, Dina M. Fonseca and Nina H. Fefferman.

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| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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