Online site offers easy access to info on Zika and dengue

(From left) Jurong Secondary student Dario Ng, South West District Mayor Low Yen Ling and Jurong GRC grassroots organisations' adviser, Dr Tan Wu Meng, trying out a quiz on dengue, with guidance from Mr Jason Nash (right), innovation manager and vect
(From left) Jurong Secondary student Dario Ng, South West District Mayor Low Yen Ling and Jurong GRC grassroots organisations' adviser, Dr Tan Wu Meng, trying out a quiz on dengue, with guidance from Mr Jason Nash (right), innovation manager and vector control leader at Bayer.ST PHOTO: MARCUS TAN

An online educational portal on mosquito-borne diseases was launched yesterday, to provide easy access to information on dengue fever and the Zika virus as well as how to prevent their spread.

Developed by global life sciences company Bayer, the portal comes with a "virtual trainer" that guides users through the different components within the site, as well as interactive quizzes.

Bayer said the Bayer Dengue Learning Lab, which will be made available to all schools within the South West District and can be accessed for free by the public, was designed to make learning fun.

It developed the portal with the National Environment Agency and South West Community Development Council (CDC).

At the launch at New Town Secondary School yesterday, South West District Mayor Low Yen Ling reminded students and grassroots volunteers that everyone has a part to play in fighting dengue and Zika.

Earlier this month, Singapore reported its first imported Zika case, a 48-year-old resident of Watten Estate in Bukit Timah who had been in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The dengue virus also remains prevalent here, with more than 7,720 reported cases since the start of the year.

Ms Low said dengue cases tend to peak during the upcoming warmer months from June to October due to the accelerated breeding and maturation cycles of Aedes mosquitoes.

She said: "As we enter the traditional peak season for dengue, it is all the more important for the community to stay vigilant and keep mosquito-borne disease under control by keeping our homes, gardens and community spaces mozzie-free."

The South West CDC also launched its annual Operation Mozzie-Free programme, which will involve over 2,000 volunteers.

They will raise awareness and make house visits as the majority of mosquito-breeding sites are discovered in homes, usually in flowerpot plates and containers such as pails.

Around 110 volunteers, including students from New Town Secondary School, started the ball rolling yesterday by going door to door at six Housing Board blocks in Clementi Avenue 1.

Each household was handed a bottle of mosquito repellent and a pamphlet with information on dengue.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2016, with the headline 'Online site offers easy access to info on Zika and dengue'. Print Edition | Subscribe