Dengue is a viral infection transmitted between humans by Aedes mosquitoes. An estimated 390 million dengue infections occur every year, and with nearly half the world’s population in 128 countries exposed to dengue virus infection, it is the most widespread mosquito-borne arboviral disease of the 21st century.
Dengue's dramatic increase in recent decades is the result of increased urbanization, in-country and international population movement and unreliable or erratic water supply in high density urban slums. Dengue is showing signs of emergence in more temperate latitudes and is a potential threat to many of the international mass-gatherings that are a feature the modern era.
Dengue viruses are transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti, a cosmotropical mosquito that thrives in urban environments. It bites by day and feeds almost exclusively on humans, breeding most commonly in the numerous containers found around the home, ranging from water storage drums and overhead tanks to bottles, buckets and discarded waste items.
Aedes aegypti is an extremely important mosquito as it is a primary vector of yellow fever, chikungunya and Zika viruses, in addition to dengue.
A second vector, Aedes albopictus, was originally confined to Asia, but in recent decades has expanded its global range and contributed to the spread of the chikungunya virus as well as dengue.
Studies at LSTM by Dr Phillip McCall and Dr Leigh Bowman on the vectors of dengue and Zika include evaluation and development of effective insecticide-based tools suitable for vector control in high density urban zones; using vector population monitoring to predict dengue outbreaks and insecticide resistance in Aedes aegypti populations .