Examining dengue prevention methods for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

An unexpected dengue outbreak in Tokyo in 2014 raised concerns about a potential outbreak in the city at the upcoming 2020 summer Olympics and Paralympics. A new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health identifies strategies for early detection and prevention of the mosquito-borne disease.

The study, led by postdoctoral research fellow Naoki Yanagisawa, reviewed Japan’s preparedness to deal with a potential outbreak. Researchers found that the nation’s infectious disease control system to detect dengue is robust, but also found gaps that could be reinforced to prepare for the large number of international visitors expected to visit Japan in the summer of 2020, when disease spread could increase.

The authors recommended that doctors be trained in tropical disease management; that steps be taken to ensure effective communication between medical staff and foreign patients; and that hotel workers participate in a tropical disease training program and have a contingency plan for when they suspect a traveler has an infectious disease.

Other Harvard Chan School co-authors of the study, which was published September 20, 2018 in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, included John Spengler and Ramon Sanchez Pina.

Read a Daily Mail article about the study: Summer 2020 Olympics in Tokyo may be hit by dengue fever: Scientists warn Japan needs to step up preparations to prevent a killer outbreak