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Is Dengue Vector Control Deficient in Effectiveness or Evidence?: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Bowman, Leigh, Donegan, Sarah and McCall, Philip ORCID: (2016) 'Is Dengue Vector Control Deficient in Effectiveness or Evidence?: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis'. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Vol 10, Issue 3, e0004551.

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Although a vaccine could be available as early as 2016, vector control remains the primary approach used to prevent dengue, the most common and widespread arbovirus of humans worldwide. We reviewed the evidence for effectiveness of vector control methods in reducing its transmission.

Methodology/Principal Findings
Studies of any design published since 1980 were included if they evaluated method(s) targeting Aedes aegypti or Ae. albopictus for at least 3 months. Primary outcome was dengue incidence. Following Cochrane and PRISMA Group guidelines, database searches yielded 960 reports, and 41 were eligible for inclusion, with 19 providing data for meta-analysis. Study duration ranged from 5 months to 10 years. Studies evaluating multiple tools/approaches (23 records) were more common than single methods, while environmental management was the most common method (19 studies). Only 9/41 reports were randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Two out of 19 studies evaluating dengue incidence were RCTs, and neither reported any statistically significant impact. No RCTs evaluated effectiveness of insecticide space-spraying (fogging) against dengue. Based on meta-analyses, house screening significantly reduced dengue risk, OR 0.22 (95% CI 0.05–0.93, p = 0.04), as did combining community-based environmental management and water container covers, OR 0.22 (95% CI 0.15–0.32, p<0.0001). Indoor residual spraying (IRS) did not impact significantly on infection risk (OR 0.67; 95% CI 0.22–2.11; p = 0.50). Skin repellents, insecticide-treated bed nets or traps had no effect (p>0.5), but insecticide aerosols (OR 2.03; 95% CI 1.44–2.86) and mosquito coils (OR 1.44; 95% CI 1.09–1.91) were associated with higher dengue risk (p = 0.01). Although 23/41 studies examined the impact of insecticide-based tools, only 9 evaluated the insecticide susceptibility status of the target vector population during the study.

This review and meta-analysis demonstrate the remarkable paucity of reliable evidence for the effectiveness of any dengue vector control method. Standardised studies of higher quality to evaluate and compare methods must be prioritised to optimise cost-effective dengue prevention.

Author Summary
Dengue fever has increased dramatically over the past 50 years and today is the most widespread mosquito-borne arboviral disease, affecting nearly half the world’s population in 128 countries. Until the arrival of a vaccine, control of its Aedes vectors has been the only method to prevent dengue infection. With dengue outbreaks occurring at increasing frequency and intensity, we undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature, to evaluate the evidence for effectiveness of vector control strategies currently available. Forty-one studies (from 5 months to 10 years duration) were included in the review. Most studies investigated combinations of approaches but only 9 studies were randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Remarkably, no RCTs evaluated effectiveness against dengue of insecticide space-spraying (outdoor fogging), the main response to dengue outbreaks used worldwide. Nevertheless, there was limited evidence indicating that house screening and to a lesser extent, community-based environmental management with water container covers could reduce risk of dengue infection. However, skin repellents, bed nets and mosquito traps had no effect while insecticide aerosols and mosquito coils were associated with higher dengue risk. However, the quality of the few studies eligible for inclusion was poor overall, and the evidence base is very weak, compromising the knowledge base for making recommendations on delivery of appropriate and effective control. Given this paucity of reliable evidence, standardised studies of higher quality must now be a priority.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: QX Parasitology > Insects. Other Parasites > QX 600 Insect control. Tick control
WA Public Health > Preventive Medicine > WA 110 Prevention and control of communicable diseases. Transmission of infectious diseases
WC Communicable Diseases > Virus Diseases > Infectious Mononucleosis. Arbovirus Infections > WC 528 Dengue
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > Clinical Sciences Department
Biological Sciences > Vector Biology Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Jessica Jones
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2016 12:47
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2018 13:12


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