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Visualization of Dengue in Vietnam
Photographs taken by Pearl Gan, invited lead photographer for a dengue photography project in Vietnam depicts the multi-faceted aspects of disease burden caused by dengue.

Dengue, a zoonotic disease caused by a mosquito-borne viral infection is the cause for significant global healthcare burden. It is found predominantly in tropical and sub-tropical regions across the world, and mostly in urban and semi-urban areas. It is transmitted by infected female Aedes aegypti mosquito.

The past few decades has seen the global incidence of dengue rise dramatically. Based on a modelling estimate there are 390 million dengue virus infections each year and another study showed that 70 percent of the global burden is borne by Asia. Despite the many cases there are still those which are asymptomatic or mild enough to be self-managed, resulting in under-reporting of dengue cases.

In a recent surveillance update of the dengue situation by the World Health Organization (WHO) in November 2019, Vietnam had a total of 9,355 dengue cases with two reported deaths and 81.5 percent of cases required hospital admission. These statistics were collected during the 41st week of 2019 alone, adding on to the total of 241,863 cases and 43 reported deaths from 1st January 2019. In comparison to the same time frame in 2018, there was a 3.1 times increase in dengue cases in Vietnam.

The work of the Dengue Research Group at Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) is thus essential in countering the spread of dengue in Vietnam. Led by Dr. Sophie Yacoub, the group focuses on increasing international research collaborations across the world to achieve their objectives in development of innovative methods for dengue management and the improvement of patient outcomes worldwide.

The photography project lead by Pearl Gan, a photographer at OUCRU aims to raising awareness of the burdens of dengue in healthcare systems in Vietnam. The photo series also highlights the work of the research team and the medical staff in doing their part to fight against dengue. OUCRU has also partnered with the Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, and the National Hospital for Tropical Disease in Hanoi.

All photographs shown are taken by Pearl Gan in collaboration with the OUCRU public engagement department.

The accompanying article together with the photos by Pearl Gan and Sophie Yacoub were published on The Lancet.

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