Council Member, Research Division, 2013–16


Johns Hopkins University

Randall M. Packard is professor emeritus at Johns Hopkins University. He is currently working on a global history of dengue fever. Dengue is a viral disease transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, and most commonly by Aedes aegypti. Reports of dengue date from the 18th century, with sporadic epidemics occurring in parts of Asia, Africa, and North America over the course of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Dr. Benjamin Rush provided a detailed description of what is believed to have been a major dengue fever outbreak in Philadelphia in 1780. The broader global expansion of dengue began in Southeast Asia after World War II and soon reached around the globe. By 2005, dengue had become the most important mosquito-borne viral disease affecting humans; its global distribution comparable to that of malaria, with an estimated 2.5 billion people living in areas at risk for epidemic transmission. 50-100 million cases of Dengue occur worldwide each year, 200,000-500,000 of which are DHF. The study will examine the emergence and global spread of dengue, with special attention to the complex set of biological, environmental, social and economic conditions that facilitated its rapid global expansion during the last decades of the 20th century. It will also explore efforts to understand and control the disease.