Kill the dengue-carrying mosquito

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Saturday, May 31, 2014


HOW often do we hear of sad stories about a family member of a friend or an acquaintance being put in the brink of death because of dengue fever? Or someone we know who died because of dengue fever?

Dengue fever is indeed a deadly illness, something to be avoided, if we can.

What is dengue?

Dengue or Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever is an acute disease caused by a virus. Signs and symptoms of dengue include sudden onset of high fever which may last for two to seven days, joint and muscle pain behind the eyes, weakness, skin rashes, nose bleeding when fever starts to subside, abdominal pain, vomiting and dark-colored stools.

What causes dengue?

The dengue virus causes dengue hemorrhagic fever. Female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes transmit dengue virus to humans. Aedes aegypti is a day-biting mosquito that lays eggs in clear and stagnant water found in flower vases, cans, rain barrels, old rubber tires, and other materials. This kind of mosquito has white stripes on its legs and a lyre-shaped marking on the thorax. Adult Aedes mosquitoes like to rest in dark places of the house.

How is dengue transmitted?

Dengue virus is transmitted by infected female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes by biting humans. The Aedes mosquito generally gets infected with the virus while feeding on the blood of an infected human. Once infected, the mosquito can transmit the virus to other and its offsprings for the rest of its life which can last up to a month.

Dengue is easily spread from place to place because dengue viruses and their carriers have spread in many parts of the world, partly due to increased travel of people. Moreover, rising population, especially in areas with stagnant water and inadequate waste disposal system makes transmission easy and fast.

And what is the Philippine government doing, specifically, the science community, to address this problem?

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has come up with the Mosquito Ovicidal/Larvicidal (OL) trap. It is a system used to control the population of the dengue-carrying Aedes mosquitos. The Mosquito OL-Trap has three important parts: a black container, a small strip of lawanit measuring 1” x 5” for mosquitoes to lay their eggs on and a larvicide solution to kill the mosquito larvae that will hatch in the strip of wood and in the solution.

How does the OL-trap work in the solution? Its scent invites female mosquitoes to the trap where they lay eggs on the stick and on the solution itself. The stick, moistened by the solution through capillary action, is highly attractive for mosquitoes to lay eggs on. As the eggs and the hatched larvae (also called ‘wrigglers’) get exposed to the solution, they die. The OL-trap’s ovicidal and larvicidal effect prevent the next generation of mosquitoes from reaching adulthood, thus curbing the Aedes mosquito population.

Here are the steps in using the OL trap:

Pour tap water into the back plastic cup until the lined mark just above the printed DOST logo. This volume is equivalent to 250 milliters (ml).

Pour one pack of OL pellets into the plastic cup.

Place the lawanit stick in the solution with the rough surface facing up.

Place the plastic cup inside and outside of the house in a low-lying area. If placed outside, it should be protected from the sun and rainfall. Take care not to spill the contents of the cup. Keep out of reach of children and animals.

Let the cup stand for six to seven days.

After six days, gently brush off into the solution the mosquito eggs stuck on the lawanit strip. A used toothbrush will do the trick, but make sure that all the mosquito eggs drop into the solution.

Dispose all the liquid contents of the cup on dry grounds.

Repeat steps 1 to 7 weekly.

The mosquito OL traps are now commercially available. Just visit the Mercury Drug store in your area. You may also inquire from the nearest DOST regional office.

***

[Email: tsuperioridad.dost@yahoo.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 01, 2014.

Lifestyle

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