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Infectious disease remains one of the most important concerns in global health. Serious infectious diseases affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide each year. While attention is often focused on HIV/AIDS, malaria or TB, dengue fever and its more lethal variety dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) are also a risk for the more than 2.5 billion people living in tropical and sub-tropical regions across the globe, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Approximately 50 million cases, about 400,000 of which are DHF, are documented each year, with some countries reporting it as a leading cause of child mortality (1). Although overall case fatality rates have been decreasing slightly, there have been significant dengue outbreaks in recent years spanning a broad swath of the globe (2, 3 & 4). The majority of people who are at risk tend to reside in poor, developing countries. It is these very countries tl1at experience the most difficulty in effectively combating any infectious disease. This difficulty arises primarily as a result of the intense poverty that plagues much of the developing world. Endless nation-specific, yet interrelated reasons exist. The scope of all the impediments to effective dengue control would be too broad and complicated to cover in a single commentary. Instead, the paper focuses on several barriers that are common to most countries facing problems associated with infectious disease, especially dengue fever. The overarching point is that no matter what prevents a country or a people from fighting the disease, it will almost always be associated with, or reduced to, financial means (or lack thereof).

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International Journal of Global Health and Health Disparities





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©2005 International Journal of Global Health and Health Disparities



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