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DUCAMID: DUtch-CAribbean preparedness for Mosquito-borne Infectious Diseases


In DUCAMID we investigate potential factors that facilitate introduction of new viruses in the Dutch Caribbean with Curacao and St Eustatius representing the different islands.

Background information

The Dutch Caribbean form potential hot spots for outbreaks of viruses spread by mosquitoes like Zika and Yellow Fever. Climate change may have played a role in recent range expansions of these arboviruses for which birds are reservoir hosts. Climatic conditions for the establishment of the particular mosquitoes involved in the virus transmission cycle have become very favorable. The Caribbean has a central position in wildlife migratory routes of relevant migratory birds. In areas depending on tourism, like the Caribbean, the economic impact of an epidemic can be high if these viruses are not contained quickly.

What is the aim?

The project DUCAMID aims to develop risk-based surveillance tools  for implementation in Caribbean research institutes with a public mandate .Our approach is to screen resident mosquitoes and birds for presence of different arboviruses and factors such as their virome as determinant of susceptibility. We also study the immunity of the population as a parameter that prevents or stimulates introduction of a new arbovirus on the islands.

How will we perform this research?

Several studies will be conducted to assess the risk for arbovirus introduction in the Dutch Caribbean. The following questions will be addressed: 

  1. Is there evidence for presence of certain arboviruses in mosquitos in Curacao and st. Eustatius?
  2. Is there an association of mosquito virome and susceptibility to arbovirus infection?
  3. Is there evidence for presence of arboviruses in different species of birds in Curacao and St. Eustatius?
  4. What is de competence of Culex- and Aedes mosquitos for several arboviruses? 
  5. How does cross-reactive immune response to alpha and flaviviruses  affect infection with a new alpha- and flaviviruses?

What is the desirable outcome?

Our research and the tools we develop will enable the Caribbean region to perform rapid research to address essential data gaps while an outbreak evolves.

External Collaborations:

  1. Curacao Biomedical & Health research Institute
  2. Wageningen University
  3. Caribbean Netherlands Science Institute
  4. Eastern Caribbean Public Health Foundation
  5. Fundashon Dier en Onderwijs Cariben
  6. Netherlands Organisation for Scientific research Earth and Life Sciences