Dengue fever spreads in a neighborly way | Science News

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Dengue fever spreads in a neighborly way

Mapping the transmission of the painful disease could help target efforts to control it

By
2:00pm, March 23, 2017
spraying DDT

DISEASE DEFENSE  To control the spread of dengue in Bangkok, DDT is sprayed to kill mosquitoes, the primary insect that transmits the virus.

Dengue is a bit of a homebody. By mapping the spread of the virus across Bangkok, scientists found that infections were most likely to occur within a few minutes’ walk of the home of the first person infected.

Pinpointing where dengue is likely to be transmitted can better focus efforts to stop the spread of the disease, the researchers report in the March 24 Science.

“We often think of transmission and infection as occurring in this ubiquitous, pervasive and amorphous way,” says study coauthor Derek Cummings. But there is a pattern to how dengue spreads. This study, he adds, shows that scientists are “starting to have the tools and methods to really track how infectious diseases move across a population.”

Dengue is a viral disease transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and can cause fever and muscle pain so excruciating that it’s also

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