The Department of Health placed the OVI trapping experiment in some selected spots in the campus. Photo by Jilson Seckler S. TiuPREVENTION is still better than cure.

This mantra rings true for dengue cases within the University over the past few months.

Unknown to many, UST’S Health Service has been setting up mosquito traps on campus to help prevent the spread of the deadly fever.

The OVI trapping or larvae trapping is done to prevent mosquitoes from reaching adulthood. They are then exterminated as soon as they are detected.

Health Service Director Dr. Salve Olalia says that this process has been ongoing for the past three years. The process starts with observation of the breeding grounds of dengue mosquitoes.

Along with the help of the Facilities and Management Office (FMO) and City Service, larvae traps are set in the suspected breeding grounds. The larvae trap consists of a can painted black to attract the dengue mosquitoes, and a wooden stick to determine if the dengue mosquitoes bred in the cans.

This clever apparatus then waits for mosquitoes to breed in the can. After four days, the larvae may be detected inside the cans.

“This is done to carefully select the areas where to fog,” Olalia said. “This is part of the search and destroy campaign to prevent the dengue from spreading in the University.”

After the intricate process of waiting, the breeding areas are then fogged. Fogging is done 10 days after the traps have been set.

This process of trapping Aedes aegypti larvae was copied from Indonesia.

Fogging is only done on Sundays, every after 10 days that the traps have been set.

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Also, fogging cannot be done regularly because the mosquitoes may develop antibodies and become immune to it. “Fogging should not be done indiscriminately, mosquito bodies may become invulnerable to it,” she said.

Throughout the three years of trapping and fogging, the College of Education’s building yielded positive with dengue larvae.

According to Olalia, UST is the only institution known to this. “As far as I know, UST os the only institution doing this [OVI trapping],” Olalia said.

Despite the Health Service’s best efforts to prevent dengue within the University, there have been 15 cases of dengue fever among students since July this year. August yielded the highest number of cases this year, producing nine cases and September yielding eight cases.

“Although that is the status quo, we are not sure whether the dengue is from the University of from their homes,” Olalia reiterated. “Alarmingly, this year’s cases were larger compared to last year.”

However, the Health Service was not able to provide exact figures and percent because its records were washed away during typhoon Ondoy’s onslaught back in 2009. Antonio Ramon H. Royandoyan

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