With the dengue vaccine withdrawn from the Philippine market, mosquito control is the best option to avoid disease spread.
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A new mosquito trap developed by a Dutch company targets both larvae and adult mosquitoes. It reduces the numbers of mosquitoes that can spread disease and can, help combat the ongoing dengue epidemic.
The In2Care Mosquito Trap looks like a black-coloured plastic bucket with a lid. Inside the bucket, there is a special coated netting with biocide powder that floats on top of water. When a female mosquito enters the trap and lands on the netting to lay eggs, she will pick up the powder.
The first active ingredient consists of insect-specific fungus spores that attach to the insect body and slowly kill the mosquito within several days.
The second ingredient is an insect growth regulator that prevents mosquito larvae from developing into biting adults.
Scientific trials in Cambodia and Laos have shown that this trap can drastically reduce the numbers of mosquitoes.
With almost 200.000 confirmed cases and over 800 deaths since the beginning 2019, dengue has become a major concern in the Philippines. Last week, the Department of Health declared a national dengue epidemic.
“The spread of dengue fever is alarming throughout Southeast-Asia. The hot and rainy season has only just begun, so it will be difficult to get the situation under control” says Gabriel Salazar, President of Sterix Incorporated, a Philippines based pest control company.
Trials with a dengue vaccine were ceased last year when 14 children died after receiving the treatment. Without a working vaccine, it will be extra important to find new solutions and to get the public involved in dengue prevention. The Department of Health communicates that “search-and-destroy of mosquito breeding sites should be used as a primary intervention to prevent and control dengue”.
Dr. Tim Möhlmann, Regional Director Asia-Pacific in the Dutch company In2Care, agrees that removal of mosquito breeding sites is one of the most important solutions. “However, these mosquito breeding sites can be as small as a few drops of water. Therefore, it can be very hard to find and remove all sites where larvae develop” explains Dr. Möhlmann.
“The benefit of the In2Care Trap is that the growth regulator binds to the female mosquito inside the trap. Once the biocide is picked up by the female, she will spread it to other mosquito breeding sites in the surrounding of the trap. In this way we utilize the mosquitoes to do the mosquito control for us!” he continues enthusiastically.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that President Rodrigo Duterte is “open to anything that will benefit the Filipino people”. Dr. Möhlmann believes that the Dutch mosquito trap can help to reduce dengue fever in the Philippines.
“The trap is environmentally friendly, safe for humans, and already registered in over 40 countries worldwide, including Thailand, Singapore, and New Zealand” he explains. A local field trial in the Philippines has been completed, and the request for registration of this new trap will be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration soon.
“This product is particularly useful for mosquito control in high risk areas such as hospitals or schools to protect those that are most at risk” continues Dr. Möhlmann.
“It provides a unique opportunity for the public to get involved in mosquito control and enables private entities like pest control companies to contribute to national dengue prevention” he concludes. Once approved, this Dutch mosquito trap could help to stop dengue outbreaks that now continue to be a burden for the Filipino people. ■
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