Even while dengue cases in the country are decreasing, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) continues its fight against the dreadful disease. DOST held a training to capacitate its regional focal persons on the School-based Roll-out of the Ovicidal Larvicidal mosquito trap last 12 October 2011 at the Metrology Conference Hall, DOST Compound, Bicutan, Taguig City.
The training was facilitated by Dr. Lilian de las Llagas, entomologist and public health professor at the University of the Philippines Manila. Dr. de las Llagas discussed the scientific framework of the DOST OL trap program, its concepts and applications to dengue vector control and surveillance in a classroom setting.
Dr. de las Llagas began the lecture by defining the nature of a vector. It is an arthropod (insect, mite, tick) that is capable of acquiring and supporting the development and transmission of a pathogenic agent (bacteria, viruses, parasites) from one host to another host. In the case of dengue transmission, Aedes mosquito species is known as the prime vector because it has the exact DNA or enzyme that supports the development of dengue virus inside its body.
“It is also important to understand the behavior of Aedes mosquito for the application of necessary control measures like the DOST OL trap. Only female mosquito bites,” said Dr. de las Llagas. “They suck blood from the victims from sunrise to sunset. This makes the OL mosquito trap significant in the school because most of the children, the most vulnerable dengue victims, are in the school during this span of time,” Dr. de las Llagas added.
Another characteristic of the female mosquito is that it can fly 50 meters to 300 meters (flight range) from its favorite containers to the areas where they could find blood meal. “Though mosquitoes are highly domesticated, a mosquito laying eggs in a nearby community might go around the schools to find its victim.”
Mosquitoes love to rest indoor, under furniture or in lower portions of walls where there are curtains and shoe racks. Dr. de las Llagas also noted that mosquitoes rest outdoors, under the leaves, plant pots, inside of wells, piles of woods, discarded tires, poultry houses, and other dark and shady areas. “These are the areas where we could strategically place our traps,” said Dr. de las Llagas.
“The DOST OL mosquito trap is a technology that is proven effective. But how we use it makes a big difference. That is why this training is very important,” stressed Dr. de las Llagas. She emphasized the role of the regional focal person as key advocacy partners of the program in the regions. “As trainers, understanding the basic concepts is crucial because you can’t train the teachers if you don’t have enough knowledge and understanding about the technology,” explained Dr. de las Llagas.
The School-based Roll-out of the OL trap Program aims to distribute the DOST OL mosquito trap to approximately 900,000 classrooms in pre-elementary, elementary and high schools nationwide. To date, DOST has already distributed a total of 34, 910 OL traps in the National Capital Region (NCR), 41,286 in Region I and 5,190 in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). (Edmon B. Agron/PCHRD-DOST)