Research to reduce the transmission of dengue and Chagas disease

Towards improved Chagas and dengue disease control through innovative ecosystem management and community-directed interventions: an eco-bio-social research programme on Chagas and dengue disease control in Latin America.

This research is investigating how communities and health services can work together to develop healthy solutions that often reduce the use of insecticides and improve overall housing conditions.

Implemented by TDR in partnership with Canada’s International Development Research Centre, the work is being conducted in 7 Latin American countries: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Uruguay. Below are reports from some of the field sites.

Reducing dengue and Chagas disease transmission

New community and environmentally-based approaches tested in the state of Yucatan in Mexico are helping to reduce vector-borne disease transmission. Designed around Chagas disease dengue, they are also helping Zika and chikungunya transmission.

Preventing dengue in Uruguay

Uruguay is one of the few countries in Latin America that does not have dengue, but its proximity to neighboring Brazil and Argentina where the disease is prevalent puts it at risk. However, a community approach to reducing breeding among the dengue-carrying mosquitoes is starting to pay off.

Dengue in Brazil

Researchers at the Universidade Estadual do Ceara in Fortaleza, Brazil are investigating new community and environmental approaches to reduce the numbers of mosquitoes that can carry dengue. Early results suggest that covering the outside containers that store a family's water supply may be more effective than using insecticides to kill the mosquito larvae.

Dengue research in Colombia

The city of Girardot, located on the banks of the Magdalene River in Colombia, is an important summer vacation spot. The region’s tropical climate draws not only tourists but also provides the perfect conditions for the reproduction of the Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that transmits the dengue virus that can be deadly.

Chagas disease in Bolivia

In Palmarito, Bolivia, a simple farming lifestyle has not changed much in hundreds of years. Water is still collected and carried by hand, there is no electricity, and the homes are simple mud hut structures. People depend on chickens and pigs for food, and they keep them close. But this lifestyle is in danger from a small bug called a triatomine, or “el timbucu” as the locals call it, which transmits a parasite to animals and people. It hides in the cracks of mud walls, under mattresses and in the fur of animals.