For part three of The Gleaners’s Dengue Alert, we’ve reached out to the Ministry of Health for answers to specific areas of concern to some Jamaicans. Sherine Huntley Jones, medical entomologist /programme manager of the Vector Control Programme within the ministry, had this to say:
1. Community fogging
TheAedes aegypti mosquito is mostly found on the inside of the home, resting in dark areas such as closets, under the sink in the bathroom and kitchen, among others. During fogging, members of the public should open windows and doors to allow the fog to get to where the mosquito is. Inhalation of the fumes can affect persons with respiratory conditions such as asthma. As such, persons with any such conditions should put a wet rag over their nose until the fume dissipates. Clothing exposed to the fumes during the spraying process is safe to wear.
2. Community efforts
The ministry has intensified its public education campaign utilising radio, television ads and social media, bolstered by interviews, press releases and media briefings, to advise the public about searching for and destroying mosquito-breeding sites, what symptoms to look out for and what procedures to take, including medication. The ministry has also employ 1,000 temporary workers who have been doing search-and-destroy operations in communities across the island. Scheduled fogging has been done in high risk communities, and this continues.
The ministry is also partnering with other agencies such as the National Solid Waste Management Authority and the National Works Agency, to clean some critical drains (one that has containers in it that can allow breeding) and removal of bulky waste which can lend to mosquito breeding. The ministry is also partnering with the Jamaica Red Cross, USAID and Pan American Health Organization in the implementation of its response.
Drum covers are being distributed in critical areas and repellents are available for sale on the market.
3. Night time procedures
Mosquitoes are most prominent at dusk and dawn. Some ways the public can especially arm themselves at nights against mosquito bites are to use repellants and use available registered aerosols.
Please be advised, however, that the vector that transits dengue, theAedes aegypti mosquito will bite all throughout the day. It will also bite during the night in well-lit areas. Persons should protect themselves against the bite of the mosquito throughout the day.