De La Salle UniversityHow can we prevent a dengue outbreak?

How can we prevent a dengue outbreak?

To help monitor and control the population of the dengue-causing mosquito aedes aegypti, experts from DLSU’s College of Science and College of Computer Studies collaborated to develop an automatic surveillance trapping system with the most efficient attractant.

Technology for Health

Different prevention and control programs are being implemented in the country to reduce morbidity and mortality from dengue infection, one of the most prevalent diseases in the Philippines. In a bid to make the country’s fight against this disease more effective, a faculty group of researchers from De La Salle University is taking a holistic approach to the challenge.

Dr. Divina Amalin, head of the Biological Control Research Unit under the College of Science Center for Natural Sciences and Environmental Research, is currently developing a more efficient integrated vector monitoring system (IVM) to help control the population of the dengue causing mosquito, Aedes aegypti. IVM is a measure that would manage the population of mosquito vector carrying dengue disease using combination control measures. 

Amalin’s IVM proposal has three components - automated population monitoring system, the use of biological control agent to control mosquito population, and the development of bio pesticide that will kill the larvae of the insect. 

An integral part of this program is the inclusion of an efficient monitoring system to monitor the seasonal population of the insect. To do this, she collaborated with the College of Computer Studies (CCS) Center for Automation Research Group, headed by Clement Ong.

The CCS team created a computer system of automatic trap with IR phototransistors that is programmed to automatically identify whether the insect caught is a mosquito or not, based on wingbeat sensing. The system also includes the monitoring of environmental conditions such as time and weather that are very beneficial to entomologists.

Ong shares that the device they developed is called ARTiST, which stands for automatic real-time surveillance and trap.

It can automatically detect and record if the insect that entered the trap is a mosquito or not. This makes way for an

easier data collection for entomologists. He adds that in a traditional system, a mosquito trap is set up in the field and entomologists have to manually count and verify the number of mosquitoes among the different insects that were caught.

On the other hand, Amalin’s team, which includes Daniel Stanley Tan of the Software Technology Department and Robert Leong of the Mathematics Department, tested which oviposition attractant, a chemical from a material that will attract the gravid female mosquitoes to lay their eggs, is the most efficient.

Based on the initial results of the study, the most efficient attractant is the bamboo tea infusion. It significantly catches  more female gravid mosquitoes compared to the wood bark strip and carbon dioxide, with water serving as the control check of the experiment.

The bamboo tea infusion will be included as the attractant in the automatic surveillance trapping system as a means  of monitoring and controlling the population of dengue mosquitoes. Monitoring the mosquito population would help  in forecasting the spread of the virus that can be correlated in the cases of dengue in different areas of the Philippines.

For next year, the team intends to pilot test the oviposition attractant with the final product design of the ARTiST. They also plan to identify possible adaptors of the automated device, such as government health agencies.

The study Building an Automated Counter of Adult Mosquitoes for Entomologic Surveillance is composed of groups  that focused on the two components of the project.

  • Mosquito attractant evaluation: Dr. Divina Amalin, Biology Department;  Robert Leong, Math Department; and Daniel Stanley Tan, Software Technology Department
  • Development of the mosquito counter device: Clement Ong, Computer Technology Department;  Rhaniel Robert Sy, Christopher Edmund Wong, and Lemuel Aaron Lalic , BSCS Major in Computer Systems Engineering
Brought to you by