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Master's Project

Title: Addressing disease vectors with Sustainable Drainage: The Zika virus in Brazil's favelas.

As a consequence of urbanisation nearly half of the world's rapidly growing population live in urban areas. Rising global temperatures are enabling the geographical coverage of mosquito - vector disease to spread further than previously thought, with discussion now focusing on the potential for disease epidemics to spread throughout new geographical urban areas, specifically informal settlements. The outbreak of Zika Virus (ZIKV) in Brazil in August 2015, bought these issues to the forefront of the international health agenda; with researchers establishing cases of neonate microcephaly to be a direct result of maternal ZIKV infection during pregnancy in May 2016. The highest density of ZIKV infections and microcephaly cases during this time were located in the northeast and southeastern regions, two of Brazil's most populated areas. These densely populated areas typically comprise informal settlments known locally as favelas, which lack infrastructure suitable for effective water management, sanitation and drainage and pose as suitable breeding environments for the Aedes aegypti ZIKV vector.

The research project aims to investigate the potential use of Sustainable Drainage(SuDS) as a method to reduce ZIKV transmission in favelas. Using a mixed-methods approach, both interviews and secondary quantitative data have been utilised to solicit an array of perspectives; including key external stakeholders working with favelas, and favela community members themselves. Following analysis and discussion of the key research findings, the project will firstly identify if there is a correlation between the ZIKV and favelas and secondly, illustrate water management challenges and practices in favelas, with a view to proposing the potential for application of SuDS devices in the future.

Education/Academic qualification

Bsc (Hons) Disaster Management, Degree, Coventry University

Sep 2013May 2017


  • 3 Participation in conference

South America Forum 2019

Rebecca Lewis (Speaker)
30 Apr 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Novatech 2019

Rebecca Lewis (Participant)
1 Jul 20194 Jul 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

SuDSNET International Conference 2018

Rebecca Lewis (Speaker)
30 Aug 201831 Aug 2018

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference