Before the onset of the rainy season, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) intensifies its dengue preventive measures by providing online information on dengue cases per community to serve as alert mechanism to concerned government offices and personnel.
In the pipeline is a dengue alert website that will enable public health practitioners to check out high-risk areas for dengue outbreaks and come up with early intervention measures. Developed by DOST through its sectoral council, the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), the site is technically a “vector surveillance” tool containing data on population density and other information on Aedes aegypti mosquito which is the vector for dengue, or the organism that transmits the dengue virus to humans.
The population of the vector, or the Aedes mosquito, is reflected in the Ovicidal-Larvicidal (OL) Trap Index Monitoring Map that shows the weekly surveillance results of communities installed with the OL Trap.
The DOST-developed (OL) trap 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 larva of mosquitoes.
Reports from dengue coordinators in schools installed with the OL trap are reflected in the monitoring map, which will then show areas where Aedes mosquitos settle, including the density of the mosquito population.
Through the weekly updates from the communities, public health practitioners 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.
A green balloon on the map would mean an index of less than 20 percent which calls for close monitoring of hygienic condition and conduct of weekly inspection to identify potential breeding sites. On the other hand, a yellow balloon signals an index of 20-39 percent, which means that local officials must conduct special operations to eliminate all breeding and potential breeding places. A red balloon marks an index of 40 percent or greater, signaling concerned officials and institutions to conduct pest control measures.
DOST developed the monitoring map project in collaboration with the Department of Education, Department of Health, and Department of Interior and local government units.
Red balloon marks the spot. Areas with an OL trap index greater than 40 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.
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.