Preventing yellow fever epidemics in Asian megacities: how can cities control mosquitotransmitted diseases?

FC Shenton & SW Lindsay


The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us of the ever present threat from infectious diseases, this includes the ones we know about already and future unknowns. The mosquito-transmitted disease yellow fever has claimed thousands of lives over the centuries and it hasn’t gone away. It is still endemic in tropical areas of Africa and Latin America, where it is kept at bay through constant surveillance, mass vaccination campaigns and some natural immunity within local populations. Despite this there are serious outbreaks from time to time. The Aedes mosquitoes capable of transmitting the virus from person to person, are now widespread in warmer countries worldwide, moreover they thrive in urban areas. With increased international movement, the fear is that infected travellers could unwittingly introduce the virus into countries where people have little or no immunity. Densely populated Asian megacities are a major concern. There are simple measures citizens can take to protect themselves and their homes from the bite of infected mosquitoes, but city leaders must be at the forefront of a coordinated response bringing together diverse stakeholders to ensure a robust and sustainable defence.