The WHO estimates that each year there are more than 300 million dengue infections worldwide, 96 million of those being lethal dengue hemorrhagic fever, largely affecting children.
Chikungunya, a disease similar to dengue but with often longer lasting severe joint pain, is rapidly moving through the Caribbean and has recently been identified in the United States.
Right now, there are no effective treatments for either illness, and current methods of controlling transmission are costly and often ineffective. Mosquitos transmit both diseases.
To better understand these mosquitos (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus), Ned Sherry, MPH candidate in Environmental Health Sciences, will be working with the CDC’s Dengue Branch from mid-May through July. Located in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Dengue Branch provides global leadership in Dengue risk assessment, research and effective public health practices.
Ned will be involved in various projects with medical entomologists understanding mosquito ecology and disease epidemiology.
To fund his work, Ned will use the School of Public Health Scholarship for International Field Experiences he received. This scholarships provides $1,000 for travel and lodging. The application process involves a letter of recommendation as well as several essays about objectives of the project and long-term career goals.
Neglected tropical diseases like dengue and chikungunya affect the poorest regions in the world, often those with the most limited resources. Surrounding mosquito and habitat ecology strongly impact dengue and chikungunya and add an additional, complex layer to disease prevention and control.
“Having the opportunity to work with a health organization at the vanguard of research and control provides me with top-notch skills and perspectives that can be utilized in poorer regions that may not have the infrastructure to combat these complex diseases,” says Sherry.
~ Post by Joy Archibald