Dengue — A New Problem, Once Again

Dengue is back, with a vengeance, again.  “Dengue has emerged as a worldwide problem only since the 1950s…With more than one-third of the world’s population living in areas at risk for transmission, dengue infection is a leading cause of illness and death in the tropics and subtropics. As many as 100 million people are infected yearly. Dengue is caused by any one of four related viruses transmitted by mosquitoes. There are not yet any vaccines to prevent infection with dengue virus (DENV),” says the dengue website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That dengue is back suggests that we have to learn again how to deal with it.  Much recent research is trying to understand why dengue is making inroads into the US, and what to do about a virus that makes mosquitoes better spreaders of dengue.  The Institute for Strategic Clarity made a small contribution to the practice of working with the epidemiology of dengue back in the 1990s, as part of its work with the Mexican Secretariat of Health.  Two published papers described a simulator we developed on the Advisory Board to the Secretary of Health, in which the epidemiologists were able to simulate the conditions at the onset of the dengue epidemic and the impact of different intervention strategies.  Maybe this simulator could be useful again to those trying to understand the dynamics of dengue intervention.  It helped us in Mexico in the 1990s.

You can download for free:

  • the dengue simulator we used (click here), and the free iThink software to run the simulator (click here)
  • a technical paper describing the context in which we developed and used the simulator, along with the code for the simulator (click here)
  • a paper, in Spanish, about the experience from the Secretariat’s perspective (click here)

2 thoughts on “Dengue — A New Problem, Once Again

  1. Reblogged this on Jim Ritchie-Dunham and commented:

    Dengue persists, as does the multitude of very expensive solutions, such as today’s news about Brazilian mosquito factories ( While many solutions are required to fight this huge problem, I still see that we lack an integrated, systems-level view of what is happening epidemiologically, how to address it, and how to communicate the required multi-pronged approach to the large communities where it hits.

    I offer an example in the blog below of how we attempted to understand, intervene, and communicate a systemic, multi-pronged approach to dengue in Mexico in the 1990s.


  2. Pingback: Dengue — A New Problem, Once Again, Again « Jim Ritchie-Dunham

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