DOST-developed mosquito trap showing promise in drive vs dengue

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/16 August) – Mosquito traps developed by the Department of Science and Technology to help arrest dengue cases are showing promise as there has been no reported cases in five test areas in Bukidnon, according to Dr. Josephine Ibalio, dengue coordinator of the Department of Health in the province.

The ovicidal-larvicidal traps and accessories provided by the DOST were tested in five areas identified to have high dengue cases in 2010 – Suna Village in Sumpong, and Kubayan and NHA 1 in Casisang, Malaybalay City; a purok in Poblacion Quezon; Vizmin Area, Poblacion Pangantucan; and Artajo Village in Alae, Manolo Fortich.

Ibalio told MindaNews that the traps were effective in attracting dengue mosquitoes to lay eggs in a lawanit paddle dipped in black canisters filled with water and DOST formulated mosquito pellets.

As of July 13, the DOH reported only 36 cases of dengue in all of Bukidnon. The City Health Office of Malaybalay cited eight cases as of August 10.

Ibalio noted the drastic decline in cases for this year, considering that last year’s 1,087 cases and 16 deaths.

She added they distributed four sets of black canisters and accessories to each of the 100 selected households in the test sites. The project is being done in cooperation with the DOH and the local government’s rural health unit. Local health workers monitor the apparatus, which was initially designed to measure density of mosquitoes in an area, every six to seven days.

Generally, Ibaloi said, they succeeded in attracting the adult mosquitoes to lay eggs in the canisters.

But she stopped short of making any recommendation for mass distribution of the traps in areas like Bukidnon until the end of the six-month trial in the test sites.

She cited some case where the tests did not attract enough number of adult mosquitoes. She named the situation in the Pangantucan site, where they observed that more canisters were ignored by the adult mosquitoes in favor of the “water holes” that are everywhere in the vicinity.

“This is good but this should not be the only solution,” Ibalio added.

She said there might be additional measures to be emphasized in areas surrounded by forests, plantations, water holes and others.

She added that cleanliness is still of primary importance and people must continue search and destroy operations against mosquito breeding sites. “If they can afford to put screen in their houses, it’s good,” she added. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)