On 5 July 2018, Vietnamese animal health and zoonoses experts met in Hanoi to explore ways of reducing mosquito-borne diseases in the urban areas of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.
About 60 participants from the livestock, animal health, public health and agriculture sectors representing national institutes, government at both provincial and district levels, research and academia attended the meeting.
The event was hosted by the ‘Metropolitan mosquitoes: understanding urban livestock keeping and vector-borne disease in growing tropical cities’ or the ‘Metropolitan Mosquito’ project. The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Uppsala University, Sweden, are implementing the project in Vietnam together with the National Institute of Veterinary Research (NIVR), the Hanoi Sub-department of Animal Health, the Hanoi University of Public Health and the National Institute Hygiene and Epidemiology.
Johanna Lindahl, a veterinary epidemiologist with ILRI and Uppsala University, spoke about the role of livestock in improving human health and livelihoods. She said that while urbanization is important to the livelihoods and prosperity of millions of people, it can also be the driver of diseases, especially mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis and Zika virus.
The ILRI research team in the project shared findings from a synthesis of different policies on rearing livestock in Hanoi including an initial survey of the link between livestock and the risk of dengue fever, a vector-borne disease which has been circulating in Hanoi in recent years.
The meeting discussed the livestock production pattern in Hanoi, the associated health-related problems and possible solutions. Participants shared data on mosquito-borne diseases and proposed ways of carrying out research activities including review of livestock policies and field research on the association between livestock keeping and mosquito-borne diseases under the project. The NIVR, the Hanoi Sub-department of Animal Health and ILRI are leading the field and laboratory research that will collect data from six districts of the city.
Started in 2018, the Metropolitan Mosquito project seeks to fill the knowledge gaps regarding urban livestock keeping and the associated risks in terms of disease vectors and their pathogens in growing tropical cities. In the cities that are densely populated because of rapid urbanization, the proximity to animals may result in increased risks for transmission of zoonotic diseases, including vector-borne diseases. Hanoi has a large number of livestock which may increase disease risks for more than 7 million inhabitants of the city. This project will generate knowledge on mosquito-borne diseases and pilot the most appropriate interventions to reduce mosquitos in urban areas in Hanoi.