New insight into best dengue strategy

ROUTINELY killing off mosquito larvae can increase the burden of dengue fever, scientists suggest.

Control strategies were more effective when they targeted adult mosquitoes, according to a study that modelled the reduction in disease burden and cost of 43 different insecticide-based dengue control strategies around the world.

While all interventions promoted the emergence of insecticide resistance and loss of herd immunity over time, those focused solely on mosquito larvae were the worst.

“Year-round larval control can be counterproductive, exacerbating epidemics in later years,” the authors concluded.

Lancet 2011;377:1673-80