NATIONAL, DILI, HEALTH

Biocentis to help Timor-Leste with the prevention and control of dengue fever

Biocentis to help Timor-Leste with the prevention and control of dengue fever

Photo Tatoli/Egas Cristovao

DILI, 04 october 2022 (TATOLI) – Biocentis, a Private Limited Company from London England expressed interest to help Timor-Leste with the prevention and control of dengue fever.

Biocentis’ Chief Executive Officer, Giorgio Rocca said Biocentis would help Timor-Leste with some potential solutions that could be implemented in the country to combat dengue.

“We had a very fruitful meeting with President Horta, and we discussed some issues in terms of public health in Timor-Leste, in particular, the outbreak of dengue,” Rocca told reporters after meeting President Horta, at Presidential Palace, today.

At the same place, the Head of Research and Development of the Biocentis, Andrew Mart Hammond said that dengue fever is spread by mosquitos, and specifically by the Ae. Aegypti mosquito: “So, would find the way to control Ae. Aegypti mosquito in Timor-Leste.”

He said if the number of the Ae. Aegyptus mosquito is reduced, then the dengue transmission can be reduced as well.

“We were spun out from the Imperial College London. So, we started academic research, working on solutions for malaria control and now we are moving toward solutions for dengue fever. We work on the development solutions for dengue fever by targeting the mosquito that transmits it,” Hammond said.

He said President understands that dengue fever is an immediate health crisis on the island, adding, therefore, Timor-Leste needed a solution to control dengue fever: “President Horta discussed with us about our approach, and he would like us to discuss with Health Minister, WHO, Red Cross and with others on how we can use the technology to solve the dengue fever in Timor-Leste.”

“So, we need to have meetings with the people who know the disease best and who know the problem on the island,” he concluded.

From january to september 2022, the municipality of Dili registered 3828 cases, of which 3,109 were children under the age of five. The municipality also registered 49 deaths, making it the deadliest year in recent times.

Timor-Leste began reporting a surge of dengue cases in late 2021, at unusually high levels compared to previous years.

According to WHO, Dengue is endemic in Timor-Leste year-round, with peak transmission reported from december to april during the hottest months of the year.

Last month, health authorities and Dili Municipal Authority set out the National Dengue Fever Preparedness and Response Plan for the upcoming rainy season, when dengue fever may have a significant impact on public health in Dili and other municipalities.

Health authorities raised the alarm as the upcoming monsoon season may increase mosquito density and the likelihood of further transmission of dengue in the country.

WHO advised that the dengue outbreak underscores the need for improved vector surveillance, enhanced laboratory capacity for better detection, increased bed capacity in hospitals, sensitized health care providers on case management, and improved surveillance of acute febrile illness to better assess disease burden and seasonality patterns.

“Establishing sentinel sites for systematically testing and subtyping dengue virus will support the detection and response to dengue in affected areas,” said WHO.

 

 

Journalist: Filomeno Martins 

Editor: Nelia Borges 

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