Edition: English Asia Pacific Africa Europe | Español Français العربية Pусский | 中文简体 中文繁体
Homepage > News

China’s ‘mosquito factory’ innovations to combat Dengue Fever

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

08-04-2015 16:52 BJT

By Tom McGregor, freelancer based in Beijing

Mosquitoes are not only annoying, but can be deadly too. Many of the flying, blood-sucking insects are carriers of the virus that leads to Dengue Fever. The most serious strain – dengue hemorrhagic fever – could be fatal, especially for children.

390 million people are infected annually, according to World Health Organization (WHO) figures. The WHO said in a public statement that, “Dengue is a leading cause of serious illness and death among children in some Asian and Latin American countries.”

Last summer, southern China’s Guangdong Province faced its worst Dengue Fever outbreak in two decades, reporting approximately 47,000 cases and six fatalities. The illness is nicknamed, ‘breakbone disease’ for causing such excruciating pain to sufferers.

Additionally, Climate Change is creating a stronger breeding ground for mosquitoes to spread Dengue. Therefore, Beijing is searching for creative answers to fight the illness that causes over 22,000 annual deaths worldwide, mostly among children.

Mosquito factory swarms into action

Biotech experts, led by Xi Zhiyong working in Guangzhou’s Science area, have built the world’s largest mosquito factory; producing over 1 million sterilized males every week, as reported by ECNS (English-language Chinese News Service).

The purpose is to release them outdoors to breed offspring that die before reaching their sexual maturity. Reducing the mosquito population can decrease risks of Dengue outbreaks.

The mosquito factory had already proven effective in its first-trial run on China’s Shazi island. The mosquito population had dropped by 90 percent. The Chinese biotech team plan to release more swarms of genetically-engineered mosquitoes at designated locations in Guangdong Province.

Instant Baidu alerts on Dengue outbraks

Chinese scientists are recognizing the value of hi-tech methods to stop Dengue Fever, but decreasing the mosquito population is just one part of the solution. People residing in Dengue-prone areas can take preventative measures by utilizing a newly-introduced state-of-the-art warning system.

Dr. Hu Wengbiao, a research scientist at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) told Asian Scientist magazine, “The solution is early detection of Dengue Fever in China to enable prevention and control the disease and reduce sickness and death.”

The QUT team has studied how to detect early signs of an outbreak by analyzing a metrics databank on China’s Internet search engine giant, Baidu. When a Chinese person suspects they have Dengue, they are likely to use Baidu to learn more about its symptoms before visiting a doctor.

Their Web search activities along with computer locations go to a database that pinpoint exactly where a Dengue could be on the brink of spreading. An alert would automatically get sent to China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The specialized alert system also factors into account all publicly-reported dengue fever cases disclosed by medical facilities in China, as well as the latest information on meteorological conditions.

The system, called CIDARS (Chinese infectious diseases automated-alert and response system), has already achieved a 99.8 percent success rate to detect Dengue outbreaks within three days.

Search for a vaccine and cure will continue on

Children are the worst-affected by Dengue. However, the French-drug-maker, Sanofi believes it has discovered a vaccine that protects the most vulnerable age group.

According the New England Journal of Medicine, more than three-quarters of children who received the experimental vaccine were protected from the virus, despite them residing in Dengue danger zones. Trial-testing lasted for a number of years to determine its long-term effectiveness.

That’s good news, but Dengue Fever remains a pestilent problem for China. Nevertheless, Guangdong’s mosquito factory and the CIDARS warning system could lessen the deadly impact of Dengue epidemics.

If so, the mosquito-borne illness would no longer be a menace for people living in southern China ever again.

 

( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )

 

 

Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

 

Follow us on

  • Please scan the QR Code to follow us on Instagram

  • Please scan the QR Code to follow us on Wechat

We Recommend

  • World Heritage China Part 29
  • Glamorous Indonesia Part 2
  • Along the Coast Part 41
  • Glamorous Indonesia Part 1
  • Dreams and the business reality
  • Philippines' beauty pageant obsession
  • China's love for basketball
  • Box office online
  • Jixi: Land of luminaries II