DOST launches dengue alert websiteFriday, June 21, 2013 12:00 AM Views : 565Luisa S. Lumioan and Framelia V. Anonas
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) launched a website that provides information on mosquito population per community, a move that will help curb dengue cases in the country. Through the website, health workers can monitor possible dengue sites and recommend interventions to local government officials.
Called the Dengue Vector Surveillance website, the site carries information on mosquito population nationwide, as well as dengue incidence and other mosquito-related facts. Vector refers to an organism, in this case the Aedes aegypti mosquito, that carries disease-causing microorganisms such as the dengue virus from one host to another.
The launch, held June 20, 2013 at the La Breza Hotel in Quezon City, was on livestream at www.science.ph. Before the launch, Science Secretary Mario Montejo, Education Secretary Armin Luistro, and Health Secretary Enrique Ona will install Ovicidal-Larvicidal (OL) Traps at the Kamuning Elementary School to formally set off the interagency collaborative anti-dengue program which includes the said website, among others.
Dengue mosquito population map
Developed by DOST- Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), the dengue alert website features a map with red and white balloons. Red balloons indicate "alert" which means that the population density of dengue-carrying mosquitoes in a certain area is too much and interventions are needed promptly. Meanwhile, white balloons dotting certain areas mean that the population of the dengue-carrying mosquito is too sparse, or none at all, to cause any dengue incident.
Mosquito population is monitored by schools where OL Traps are installed. The OL trap, developed by DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute, is a simple, affordable, and efficient tool for controlling mosquito population. An OL trap kit consists of a black container, a lawanit paddle where mosquitoes lay their eggs, and a pack of pellets used to make a solution that kills the eggs and larvae of mosquitoes.
The school-based monitors check on the traps weekly and report to DOST the number of traps that contain mosquito eggs and larvae. The monitors used to do their weekly reports manually by tediously filling up forms. But now the monitors just text their reports which are then automatically encoded to the website.
Navigating the dengue alert website
There are two ways to find out the mosquito density in an area through the website. One way is to hover the mouse over the map and locate the area manually. A balloon will pop out with the name and address of the school, along with dengue status and recommended interventions. Clicking on the school name would yield the line graph showing the indices –or population density—on certain dates. A quick glance on the line direction would show the rise and fall of mosquito population over a certain period. This highly visual indicator can be easily understood, especially by common folks and community leaders, and be used as basis for appropriate action.
Another way is to click on the navigation window with the exact location (region and city) and duration.
Through the weekly updates, public health workers can check out trends and recommend actions to be taken by policy makers and community leaders. This function puts the country one step ahead of the dengue menace, the peak season of which occurs during the rainy months.
Aside from the text-based reporting, the dengue alert website is now being designed to integrate with the Program NOAH platform. This means that a visit to the NOAH website will not only give location-specific information on weather and flood but also on dengue alert and status. Further, the information on the website is already printable and can thus be mass-produced for various purposes.
DOST developed the monitoring map project in collaboration with the Department of Education, Department of Health, and Department of Interior and local government units. It can be accessed at http://oltrap.pchrd.dost.gov.ph.
The website shows schools in Metro Manila where OL traps are installed. Clicking on the balloon will show the reported OL trap index and the corresponding recommended action. Areas with an OL trap index greater than 20 percent, marked by red balloons, must be on alert. School authorities and other concerned officials must wage an all-out clean up of breeding places and potential breeding sites, and conduct pest control measures to prevent an imminent dengue outbreak.