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International research project aims to combat dengue fever

27 October 2023

Dengue research team - people in an office next to a screen with people on a virtual call
The research team

Cardiff Business School has joined forces with the Institute of Computing at University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in Brazil to conduct research into combatting dengue fever, a pressing public health challenge in the Americas.

The international collaboration is led by Professor Emrah Demir from Cardiff Business School and Associate Professor Fábio Luiz Usberti from UNICAMP. A team of researchers and students joins them.

The research project is a major step towards the fight against dengue fever, offering the potential to reshape vector control strategies in Brazil and throughout the Americas.

Bolstered by the funding for research initiatives, this collaborative effort has played a pivotal role in fostering an environment where academics from both institutions can share knowledge, exchange insights, and collectively embark on pioneering research endeavours.

Dengue fever is a major public health concern, with millions of reported cases annually, and its impact on healthcare systems and socioeconomic aspects is particularly pronounced in Brazil.

To address this issue effectively, the research collaboration is developing an innovative approach known as the Block Vehicle Routing Problem (BVRP). This methodology aims to optimise vehicle routes for targeted spraying of city blocks, promising enhanced efficiency and resource allocation.

The research harnesses the power of operational research and computational science to transform how vector control strategies are implemented. By strategically mapping out routes based on dengue risk factors, transmission patterns, and real-time data, this approach maximises the impact of insecticide spraying campaigns while minimising costs and environmental impact.

Vibrant discussions and seminars between the two institutions have taken place showcasing the progress and potential impact of the BVRP approach in addressing dengue fever.

“In the journey to combat dengue fever, this visit has paved the way for Cardiff University and UNICAMP to combine our expertise in operational research and computer science. Drawing from our expertise in this field, we're now poised to unlock innovative solutions and make a real impact on the fight against Dengue fever."
Professor Emrah Demir Professor of Operational Research, The PARC Professor of Manufacturing and Logistics

Associate Professor Fábio Luiz Usberti stated: "Every year, Brazilian health authorities struggle with the task of making effective decisions for dengue control logistics. They have limited resources, but a strong need for reliable decision support systems. I am confident that our collaboration will introduce fresh ideas and methods to meet some of these challenges. I am also very optimistic about the positive impact our research can have on society."

Stay tuned for further updates on this promising research initiative, driven by the dedication of Professor Demir, Dr Usberti, and their students, and its potential to make a lasting impact on public health.

Researchers involved in the project include: Professor Emrah Demir from Cardiff University, Dr Fábio Luiz Usberti and Dr Celso Cavellucci from UNICAMP, Dr Laura Silva de Assis from CEFET/RJ, and Dr Rafael Kendy Arakaki. The following students also participated in the workshop: Luis Henrique Pauleti Mendes (MSc), Pedro Olímpio (MSc), Deyvison Nogueira Rodrigues (MSc), Matheus Diógenes Andrade (MSc), Carlos Victor Dantas Araújo (MSc), Sarah Carneiro (BSc), and Lucas Pinheiro (BSc).

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