Wellcome Photography Prize commission 2019

Dengue fever is one of the most deadly and prevalent mosquito-borne diseases – around half of the world’s population are now at risk of infection by the dengue virus. In the Wellcome Photography Prize 2019 commission, which explores the theme of outbreaks, Adrienne Surprenant told the human story of the disease.

Adrienne, a Canadian photojournalist, was the Wellcome Photography Prize Fellow 2019. The visual story for her commission, 'Dengue Fever – Falling Between the Cracks', focused on parts of the world where dengue is common. She captured the devastating human consequences for families and communities already affected or at risk of infection from this deadly disease.

Her pictures also explore the logistical challenges of managing the spread of disease and the attempts being made to tackle it in Bangladesh, Fiji, Brazil and Reunion island in the Indian Ocean.


Climate change is affecting the prevalence of dengue in Dhaka, one of the world’s densest cities.


Tourism can breathe life into remote nations but can also bring problems when travellers accidentally transport dengue-carrying mosquitoes from neighbouring islands.


Zika may be a diminishing threat in Brazil, but the impact on community trust in health services, crucial for preventing and treating dengue, is still being felt.


Why the success of a public health programme to combat dengue on an Indian Ocean territory could have implications for mainland Europe.

About Adrienne Surprenant

Adrienne is a Canadian photojournalist documenting social and environmental issues. Currently based in the Central African Republic, she has covered stories in Central America, Central Africa and the Middle East. Adrienne is a member of the Collectif Item, which takes on long-term projects that document our world.

About the Wellcome Photography Prize commission

Each year the Wellcome Photography Prize commission focuses on a new health challenge. Details about the 2020 commission will be available soon.

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