MANILA, Philippines?Prompted by persistent reports of dengue cases nationwide, the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) has developed a mosquito trap that check the spread of the virus and may soon become available next month.
The trap has successfully passed laboratory tests and will be subjected to field tests in 500 households in Quezon City and 500 households in Marikina City next week, Science Secretary Mario Montejo said at a press briefing in Malacañang Wednesday.
?If we get positive results which we expect, we can roll them out all over (the country),? Montejo said. ?We have to be careful that what we?re claiming is really validated, including implementation details.?
Dengue fever, a mosquito-borne disease, has so far afflicted more than 50,000 people, killing 500 of them.
Montejo presented to reporters the mosquito trap, a small plastic black container with a black ?organic? solution developed by epidemiologists and a piece of wood.
?Mosquitoes are attracted by the color, as well as the solution, which has fumes,? he said.
The insects gather inside the container and lay their eggs, but the larvae end up being killed there, Montejo said. Laboratory tests showed the solution killing ?100 percent? of the larvae, he added.
The secretary said he hoped the mosquito trap could be made available in a month.
The container and solution cost P30 or less, he said. People can just come up with their own plastic container and buy the solution, which will cost only P5 a pack, he added.
Montejo said he expected the trap to last for two months as he noted that the life span of a mosquito was only one month. A female mosquito lays as many as 400 eggs four times in its life, and 80 percent of the eggs turn out to be female.
The science official said the device was not new because as early as 12 years ago, it was used mainly to attract mosquitoes and monitor their number.
What is new is the development of the solution, and thus the trap is the first one to kill mosquito larva, according to Montejo.
A household may need between five and 10 mosquito traps, depending on where family members want to place them, he said.
Montejo also disclosed that the DoST and the Department of Health would come out ?in the near future? with diagnostic kits to help doctors determine if their patients have contracted the disease.
In North Cotabato, dengue fever has killed 16 people from January to Sept. 14, health officials said.
Dr. Hansel Amoguis, the provincial epidemiologist, described this year?s dengue incidence as alarming, noting that a total of 3,809 cases had been reported or more than double the 2009 figure of 1,608.
?Most of the fatalities were children and those who have a weak immune system,? Amoguis said. The deaths were recorded in Kidapawan City and the towns of Banisilan, Arakan, Libungan, Makilala, Pigcawayan and Tulunan.
In Iligan City, residents were relying on juice extracted from ?tawa-tawa? and papaya leaves to help patients survive, officials said.
The residents believe the concoction could increase the blood platelet count although this has not been validated by medical studies, said Councilor Chonilo Ruiz, chair of Kidapawan?s health committee.
Iligan has recorded nearly 1,000 cases, including nine deaths since January.
In Davao City, Army soldiers were deployed to remote villages to help patients suffering from dengue and other diseases.
Lt. Col. Medel Aguilar, spokesperson of the 10th Infantry Division, said the latest medical mission was conducted by members of the 84th Infantry Battalion at Barangay Baracatan in Toril District on Sept. 13.
?With the cooperation of the city health office and the local officials, the military will assist in providing aid and medical care to residents in remote areas, who cannot easily avail of such services due to the distance and road conditions,? Aguilar said.
In Negros Occidental, the acting head of the provincial health office said there was no need to declare a state of calamity even if the number of dengue cases recorded this year was the highest in five years.
Ernell Tumimbang said the cases were reported only in specific areas and were still manageable, and the number had been dropping in the last three weeks.
Deaths, however, have reached 28, Tumimbang said.
Negros Occidental had 1,466 dengue fever cases in 2005, 572 in 2006, 3,745 in 2007, 1,192 in 2008 and 1,430 in 2009.
This year, Tumimbang said the highest number was 608. With reports from Williamor Magbanua and Richel Umel, Inquirer Mindanao; and Carla P. Gomez, Inquirer Visayas