London – If someone asked you what the most deadly animal in the world is, you might first think of lions or crocodiles.
Mosquitoes can spread serious diseases, including Zika, malaria, West Nile and dengue, the last of which the World Health Organization (WHO) named a top 10 global health threat in 2019. Worldwide, dengue causes up to 400 million infections and 20,000 to 25,000 deaths are attributed to dengue each year, making it the most common viral infection caused by mosquitoes. The virus can cause fever, headaches, pain—and in severe cases, serious illness and death. Outbreaks can further strain healthcare systems that are facing existing challenges in capacity and resources.
Alarmingly, the number of dengue cases reported to the WHO increased more than eight-fold in the past two decades, and nearly 4 billion people in over 129 countries are currently at risk for infection.
For more than a decade, Johnson & Johnson has been committed to fighting neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) like dengue; in 2012, the company joined leading global health organizations to sign the landmark London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases, which has helped drive meaningful progress in the control, elimination and eradication of NTDs. And Johnson & Johnson is continuing to push this work forward. This month, the company announced a new commitment to the Kigali Declaration on neglected tropical diseases, which aims to put commitments to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 target on NTDs into action. Johnson & Johnson’s commitment will include—among other efforts to fight NTDs—expanded research into dengue.
For National Dengue Awareness Month, we spoke to two Johnson & Johnson experts to learn more about this NTD and the work underway that may help curb its spread.