Dengue is a disease caused by a mosquito-borne flavivirus. Infection with the dengue virus can result in mild illness or life-threatening disease.
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Dengue is transmitted by mosquitoes of the Aedes genus (primarily Aedes aegypti but also Aedes albopictus and some others) and four serotypes of the virus exist. Infection with the dengue virus can result in mild illness or life-threatening disease (classified by the WHO into two categories – uncomplicated or severe).
There has been a dramatic increase in the incidence of dengue in recent years, which is attributed to increased urbanisation, population growth and climate change.
The Aedes vectors bite primarily during the day and have a strong preference for people rather than sourcing blood meals from animals. Aedes aegypti prefers to lay its eggs in small artificial containers and tends to have a close proximity to man. Treatment or destruction of breeding sites is a key method to reduce the incidence of disease but locating all breeding sites in an urban environment is logistically challenging. Given these challenges in urban environments (and especially during disease epidemics) the application of space-spray insecticides, targeting adult mosquitoes, is also a recognised method to reduce the threat and spread of the disease.