With the rise of dengue cases especially among children, a local study has pioneered in the development of a statistical model that readily predicts the threat of dengue outbreaks in public elementary and high schools in the Philippines.
Supported by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the “School-based Mosquito Abundance Model (SMAM)” study offers a predictive model based on actual data estimating the mosquito density in schools without having to do active vector surveillance.
Led by Dr. Lilian A. De Las Llagas of the College of Public Health, UP Manila and Dr. Lisa Grace S. Bersales of the School of Statistics, UP Diliman, the model specifically forecasts the trends of the ovitrap index, an effective mosquito surveillance tool.
“We are offering this model as a science-based contribution to the dengue control efforts. The results will be an important prediction for dengue cases and eventually for outbreak prevention,” said De Las Llagas, the leading authority in the country and the region in the science of vector control and practice.
De Las Llagas added that with the model, the risk of dengue transmission can be predicted and the benefits could be computed.
Bersales, the National Statistician of the Philippine Statistics Authority, foresees that the climate-driven model is fit to predict for mosquito density of schools located across the four climate types of the Philippines.
Schools were the chosen target sites for this study since cases of dengue fever are common among elementary and high school students as they are exposed to the day-biting mosquitoes Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, the transmitters of the dengue virus.
Having collected data from July 2015 to February 2016, the study will continue up to the second quarter of 2016 to complete a 12-month data for prediction.
Anyone interested to know areas of dengue vulnerability due to high mosquito count can simply click the DOST website to be launched at the end of the project.
The website is designed to present the forecasts of mosquito density in schools for prompt and effective actions to prevent dengue outbreaks.
(Article by Dr. Lilian De Las Llagas and Dr. Lisa Grace Bersales)