Mosquito forecast to help avoid itches
BEIJING, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Annoyed with mosquito bites? People are now able to adjust their outdoor activities and take precautions using real-time, publicly available data about the pests' density, according to Monday's China Daily.
The data - based on an algorithm that uses weather factors crucial to the insects' survival and reproduction, such as temperature and humidity - can be accessed via China Meteorological Administration's mobile website e.weather.com.cn, said the newspaper.
The "mosquito forecast", as the new service is called, categorizes the insect's numbers in a given area using a four-tiered warning system - few, normal, many and plentiful - represented by the colors green, yellow, orange and red.
According to the Jiangsu Meteorological Bureau, which collaborated on the forecasting system, the data are updated hourly and describe mosquito swarm densities in the users' neighborhood within a radius of 2.5 km.
Users can also check on national conditions through a thermodynamic chart marked in the four colors, as well as a graph forecasting the situation for the next 72 hours.
Users can comment on the data's accuracy using two buttons - accurate and inaccurate - and the results are displayed.
Mosquito data will be available until the end of September, the bureau said to the newspaper.
China experiences a surge in the number of mosquitoes in summer and early autumn, generally from June to September, due to warm temperatures and humid air.
Beijing launched a mosquito-control campaign in May to cut the risk of infectious diseases such as dengue fever, said China Daily.
Zhou Xiaonong, director of the parasite-borne disease institute of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told the newspaper that the factors influencing mosquitoes' prevalence are not limited to weather, so a forecast's accuracy could be compromised when predicting the bugs' population in a small area.
"Hygienic conditions vary greatly from place to place, and poor hygiene - in addition to favorable temperatures and humidity - may also contribute to a mosquito population explosion," Zhou was quoted as saying.