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UniMAP To Develop World's First Aedes Mosquito Detector

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By Nurul Halawati Azhari

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) is working on a device to detect the presence of female Aedes mosquitoes, the ones responsible for the dengue menace.

UniMAP's Nanoelectronics Engineering Institute Director, Prof Dr Uda Hashim said the sensor in the device would be able to detect female Aedes mosquitoes through the acoustic waves produced by the beatings of its wings (Aedes Mosquito Detection Using Acoustic Wave Device Based on Wingbeat Frequency).

"The research field combines the knowledge of nanotechnology and electronic engineering. We are also working at making the device portable, practical and affordable for everyone," he said.

The device will be paired with a wireless control system that will send the information to a data collection centre that is located whether within the premises itself or to a nearby vector control centre.

Both the device and the wireles control system are being developed simultenously.

AIDING CURRENT EFFORTS

The device will be able to complement the Health Ministry's tireless efforts in combatting the dengue pandemic through numerous awareness campaigns as well as biological, physical and chemical means.

"The Health Ministry has gone all out to combat dengue. As there have yet to be a vaccine in the market, the best way to prevent further cases is to detect and eliminate its breeding grounds.

"The device will be the first of its kind in the world and we are hoping it will help in reducing the number of cases that have been soaring of late," said Uda.

Barely 20 days into 2015, already the iDengue website reported 2,600 dengue cases across Malaysia with eight of them being fatal.

Last year, the number of deaths due to dengue was 199, compared with 88 in 2013, a 224 per cent increase.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito can lay eggs in a mere tablespoon of water, with it maturing into mosquitoes in as little time as a week.

According to a statement issued by the Health Director General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, everyone had a role to play in the prevention of dengue. This is done by ensuring that their living environment does not serve as a potential breeding ground for the Aedes mosquito.

The ministry's recurrent campaign is for the public to spend 10 minutes every day to clean the areas surrounding their homes.

The ministry is also publishing the latest information and announcements on dengue cases nationwide on its website at iDengue.remotesensing.gov.my.

-- BERNAMA