Honduras Combats Dengue with Innovative Mosquito-Based Approach
By Bufete Mejia & Asociados
The Honduran Ministry of Health, the National Autonomous University of Honduras, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the World Mosquito Program partnered to implement innovative public health strategies to reduce illness from arboviruses such as dengue, zika and chikungunya.
With the aim of finding better and more sustainable solutions, the partners have trialed prevention methods that have not been used in Honduras before, but that have proven effective in other countries with high levels of dengue. This includes releasing Aedes aegypti mosquitoes carrying the natural Wolbachia bacteria, which reduces mosquitoes’ ability to transmit arboviruses.
Dengue is a viral infection transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes. It is mostly found in urban areas in tropical climates. Symptoms include fever, headache, body aches and nausea. People suffering from severe dengue need care in a hospital and it can be fatal.
In Honduras, outbreaks are growing increasingly severe with more than 10,000 dengue cases reported each year. No specific treatments are currently available, and no vaccines have yet been produced that provide sufficient protection against infection. The use of outdated vector control techniques has also led to mosquitoes becoming resistant to current prevention methods and pesticide products.
The Wolbachia method is safe for humans and the environment and has been successfully deployed in more than 12 countries, reaching some 10 million people. Evidence shows that virus transmission is significantly reduced in areas where Wolbachia is maintained at a high level.
In 2024, additional vector-control activities will be carried out to reduce transmission inside people’s homes.
Source: Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)