How a digital tool aims to prevent Vietnam's Dengue epidemic

12 May 2023

It has become Vietnam's annual epidemic. More than 2 million people are estimated to become infected by dengue fever each year, with only about 95,000 going on to be treated for the mosquito-borne illness.

Dr Dung PhungSymptoms include high fever, rash and muscle and joint pain. In severe cases there is serious bleeding and shock, which can be life-threatening. Those who are infected a second time develop a significantly higher risk for other diseases.

It is a confronting issue close to the heart of The University of Queensland's Dr Dung Phung, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Public Health and Theme Leader of Climate Change and Health at the Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences.

Moved by Vietnam's decades-long struggle with the virus and climate change, he has developed an early warning detection system for dengue outbreaks. E-Dengue, as it's known, uses a prediction model to help local communities and health centres mitigate outbreaks of the mosquito-borne disease in the Mekong Delta Region.

With the assistance of global charitable foundation Wellcome Trust, Dr Phung has received an $8,445,649 grant to lead the project's development across 13 provinces and 134 districts that are highly vulnerable to climate change between 2023 and 2027.

"Vietnam is substantially affected by dengue, which is one of the leading causes of hospitalisation during the dengue transmission season," Dr Phung said.

"The economic burden of dengue in Vietnam is estimated to be $43-138 million Australian dollars per annum.

"Dengue epidemics are observed year-round in many parts of the country, particularly in the Mekong Delta Region located in the Southern part of Vietnam."

Read the full article on UQ News