One of the world’s foremost experts on vector-borne diseases and the Aedes Aegypti mosquito has died.
In a statement today, top officials of the University of the West Indies (UWI) expressed sadness over the sudden passing of one of their own, Professor Dave Chadee, who was affectionately known as ‘the mosquito man’.
The renowned entomologist and parasitologist, who passed away in his native Trinidad on Tuesday, has been credited for his research into mosquito-spread diseases such as dengue fever, yellow fever, and malaria and most recently, the Zika virus. His work on mosquitoes has guided the development of mosquito traps, new disease surveillance systems, and new control strategies.
UWI Vice-Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles described Professor Chadee who was in his early 60s, as “a brilliant, dedicated, outstanding colleague” and “a superb researcher”, while Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the St Augustine Campus Professor Clement Sankat noted that Chadee’s work was “nationally, regionally and internationally recognized both for its scholarly impact, as well as its applicability and timeliness.
“His research has helped position the UWI as a leader in this field of research, advising countries like Brazil, China, Sri Lanka and Malaysia on vector control programmes,” the UWI principal said.
“A humble man from Tableland, Trinidad, he cared for his community and country. His shoes will be very difficult to fill. May his soul rest in peace. He deserves no less,” Professor Sankat added.
Chair of the UWI’s Regional Task Force on Zika Professor Clive Landis said, “the Caribbean has lost its foremost authority on mosquito prevention”. Chadee was one of 13 UWI experts appointed by the Vice-Chancellor back in February this year to serve on the Zika task force.
At the time of his passing, Chadee was Professor of Environmental Health and Subject Leader in Bioethics in The UWI St Augustine’s Department of Life Sciences. He specialized in the ecology, surveillance, ethics, epidemiology and control of vector-borne diseases.
He was also chair of the campus’ Open Lectures Committee and held adjunct professor posts at the Department of Tropical Medicine, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University in New Orleans; the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Miami and at the University of South Florida in Tampa.