The Lancet is today [Wednesday 21 May] publishing a Series of reports about different mass gatherings: the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games; the 2012 European Football Championship finals (Euro 2012), hosted jointly by Poland and Ukraine; and Hajj 2012 and Hajj 2013. These reports, led by Professor Ziad Memish, Deputy Minister of Health for Public Health in Saudi Arabia, and Professor Alimuddin Zumla, at University College London Medical School, UK, set out the planning and surveillance systems used to monitor public health risks, and describe the public health experiences and lessons learnt for the planning of future events. Continue reading Mass gatherings medicine – international cooperation and progress→
For the first time, scientists have developed an early warning system to predict the risk of dengue infections for the 553 microregions of Brazil during the football World Cup. The estimates, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, show that the chance of a dengue outbreak is enough of a possibility to warrant a high-alert warning in the three northeastern venues (Natal, Fortaleza, and Recife) but is likely to be generally low in all 12 host cities.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases
Dengue is a viral infection that is transmitted between humans by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. In some cases, it causes life-threatening illness. There are currently no licensed vaccines or treatments against dengue. So far this century, Brazil has recorded more cases of dengue fever than anywhere else in the world, with more than 7 million cases reported between 2000 and 2013.
“Recent concerns about dengue fever in Brazil during the World Cup have made dramatic headlines, but these estimates have been based solely on averages of past dengue cases. The possibility of a large dengue fever outbreak during the World Cup, capable of infecting visitors and spreading dengue back to their country of origin, depends on a combination of many factors, including large numbers of mosquitoes, a susceptible population, and a high rate of mosquito-human contact”, explains lead author Dr Rachel Lowe fromthe Catalan Institute of Climate Sciencesin Barcelona, Spain.*
In particular, climate has an important effect on dengue transmission in epidemic-prone areas where temperature and rainfall drive both mosquito and virus transmission dynamics. The risk of an epidemic increases shortly after a season of heavy rainfall, as occurred in the Amazon during the summer in Brazil.