Last week, the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston posted a link to a recent story reported on the New Indian Express outlining a UTMB virologist’s recent discovery of a fifth type of dengue virus, which has cropped up in Malaysia.
According to Dr. Nikos Vasilakis, a virologist at UTMB, the new dengue serotype told Express, “We found the virus in east Malaysian state of Sarawak,” adding that while “[t]here is no evidence of its presence in countries like India . . . given that the vector (aides niveus s l) and the vertebrate hosts (NHPs) are there, it is quite possible that a yet undetected sylvatic transmission cycle may be present.”
Read more news about Dengue Fever here:
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The discovery is not good news for virologists’ fight to curtail the spread of dengue and find viable treatment and vaccine options for the disease: with the discovery of this fifth serotype, which was announced at the third international conference on ‘Dengue and Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever’ in Bangkok back in October, Dr. Vasilais notes that an even more robust effort to contain the disease is now critical, adding, “The strategy to combat dengue and its aftermath could only be an effective and sustainable vector control program.”
Given the fact that the disease is easily contracted through mosquito bites and is a febrile illness that affects infants, young children and adults alike, this new serotype, the newest in over 50 years, is bound to make an impact not only in Malaysia, but in the surrounding region as well.
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