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Smart mosquito trap introduced to prevent dengue fever in Taiwan

2019/01/04 21:50:30

Taipei, Jan. 4 (CNA) A new mosquito trap has been designed by Taiwan's National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) that quickly identifies whether a mosquito could spread dengue fever and determines areas of high risk.

Most traditional traps are geared toward killing mosquitoes and cannot identify mosquito species, but the newly developed "smart multi-membrane mosquito trapping device" catches them alive and uses special technology to identify them, said Liao Lun-de (廖倫德), an NHRI researcher.

Liao said that as soon as a mosquito flies into the trap, the device will take 18,000 pictures of it in 0.07 seconds to determine with more than 90 percent accuracy if it is of the Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus species that spread dengue fever and the Zika virus.

That data can be transmitted back to the NHRI, helping identify neighborhoods at high risk of dengue fever, Liao said.

With enough data points, an early-warning system that allows authorities to take preventive measures could be developed, Liao said.

The device's other benefit is that because the mosquitoes are caught alive, their blood can be tested to identify what they have bitten and whether they are carrying a virus, according to the researcher.

It took the NHRI a year and a half to design the trap, which combines photoelectric sensing and artificial intelligence technology. Each device costs between NT$2,000 (US$65) and NT$4,000, Liao said.

(By Chang Ming-hsuan and Yu-Chen Chung)