By Chris King • 05 June 2023 • 19:56
Image of a mosquito.
Image: Nechaevkon/ Shutterstock.com
An application released by Spain’s Ministry of Health several years ago allows members of the public to report being bitten by mosquitoes.
The main objective of ‘Mosquito Alert’ is to compile a map showing the spread of these pests across the country, especially in regions where their presence was previously almost non-existent.
It also aims to reduce the expansion of some species that transmit all kinds of diseases via their irritating bites. Five species of mosquitoes known to be present on Spanish territory are being targeted by the app.
These include the main protagonist, the tiger mosquito (aedes albopictus). There are also the yellow fever mosquito (aedes aegypti), the Japan mosquito (aedes japonicus), the Korean mosquito (aedes koreicus), and the common mosquito (culex pipiens).
Between them and their bites, these five are responsible for the transmission of diseases such as dengue, Zika, chikungunya, and West Nile fever.
‘Mosquito Alert’ was born a result of the collaboration of the Centre for Advanced Studies of Blanes of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), the Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF), and the Catalan Research Institute i Advanced Studies (ICREA).
The main idea of its existence is to turn the Spanish citizen into a very important part of a study carried out by experts combined with AI techniques for a real-time surveillance platform.
On opening the app, the first-time user is greeted with a tutorial that explains how it works and how to navigate. From the home screen users can go to the app’s four main sections: These are titled: Notify Bite, Notify Mosquito, Notify Breeding Place, and My Data.
By pressing the red button, users can notify about a mosquito bite and indicate where and when they have been bitten. This can be done as many times as is wanted without any limit.
The yellow button is used to photograph one of the five most sought-after species in Spain. A picture of the thorax (the segment behind your head) and the entire body is taken and sent.
A third option offers the possibility to notify about breeding places in public spaces. By using the blue button a photo is added which sends a capture of the den where the insects laid their eggs.
This allows it to be eradicated it to eliminate the future presence in the area of any of the species in search and capture. As the app points out, without standing water, there are no mosquitoes.
The fourth section builds a map of the entire history which modifies the data sent. A user can also consult the information published by other participants in the same area.
One of the best advantages of the app is that the more and better data that are sent, then more photos are validated.
From the same main screen of ‘Mosquito Alert,’ you can find the notifications button in the upper left part. This is used to receive the responses of the experts on the observations sent by the user, as well as being up to date with the latest news on mosquitoes in Spain.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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