A unique IT tool, developed to control and reduce the outbreak of mosquito-borne diseases by using data mining, has been validated and taken up for implementation by health authorities in five States.

The novel technology has been developed by Dr. U.S.N. Murthy, Chief Scientist, Biology Division, CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology and his team by improvising and customising Self Organising Map (SOM), a cluster technique in data mining.

Following effective validation of the technique in remote areas of Arunachal Pradesh and other places, Dr. Murthy demonstrated the technology to officials from National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) of Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The Government of India cleared implementation of SOM technology in five States — Gujarat, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Assam and Mizoram in the initial phase. It will be extended to all other States in a phased manner.

Dr. Murthy said the SOM technology would enable health officials to prioritise control parameters in endemic zones at village level and initiate measures to minimise morbidity and mortality, caused by the onset of vector-borne diseases. “By implementing SOM technology, we can alert health authorities to take up larval and adult spraying before the transmission of parasite by the mosquito,” he added.

Mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, Japanese encephalitis and dengue are posing a serious public health problem in India and other South-East Asian Countries, with some of them were occurring in an epidemic form on a periodical basis. The NE parts account for about 10.5 per cent of malaria cases and 20 per cent of the deaths

The technology comprises two dimensions — one relating to the names of the villages and the second focusing on mosquito density, infection, infectivity and parasitic load.

Based on these parameters, a complete mapping of the villages could be done in terms of prioritising control parameters. For instance, in a village where parasitic load is heavy, drug administration rather than mosquito control would be the priority. In places with heavy mosquito density, larval and adult spraying measures need to be taken up followed by drug administration.

“This is the first of its kind approach in the country in reducing mosquito-borne diseases at village level,” Dr. Murthy added.

He said the health officials in the five States have been imparted training on the use of the software. “The feed back from Arunachal Pradesh is that it is working very well and they are able to identify the affected villages and take precautionary measures,” he said.