Student project irks and shoos dengue mosquitoes

Engineers at the Tecnológico de Costa Rica including project leader Arys Carrasquilla have created a device that will combat one of the country’s most prevalent diseases, dengue.

Dengue- off, as the device is called, uses ultrasonic frequencies that target the Aedes aegypti, a mosquito that carries the virus. The frequency is harmless to humans and animals, but disturbs the mosquito in a way that makes it leave the area, according to the institute, one of the country’s public universities. The device is a small, black box.

Since there is no vaccine for the virus, the way to prevent the virus from attacking persons is to reduce the mosquitos and the number of mosquitos around. Without mosquitos, persons can’t receive bites, a spokesperson said.

In the Americas and Asia, 50 million people are
infected each year with dengue and 20,000 die.

The technology seeks to help curb this effect.

“Dengue has become a global problem since the Second World War, and is an epidemic in over 110 countries,” said a video presentation about the virus. “This means that 2,500 million people are living in risk areas around the world. Dengue fever has presence in Americas and Asia and all of this generates health, economic and environmental problems.”

To further the advancement of the device, creators have entered Dengue – off in Desafío Intel and is currently a finalist. The purpose of the competition is to develop Latin American entrepreneurs.

Winners of the challenge will receive opportunities for consulting, exposure to media and the possibility to compete in the Intel Global Challenge at the University of California at Berkeley in November, which offers prizes up for $50,000.

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