Sun | Apr 23, 2017

Mosquito mania

Published:Saturday | June 13, 2015 | 6:00 AMDaviot Kelly
As Jamaica remains on high alert for ZIKV, this gully in Seaview Gardens, Kingston, is a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes.

'Mosquito one, mosquito two, mosquito jump inna hot callaloo' - so the old nursery rhyme goes.

However, for some people, mosquitoes seem to be jumping in and out of everywhere, swarming by the hundreds and thousands. News reports over the last few years have quoted residents of numerous communities who believe that mosquitoes have not only become more prevalent, but have taken on different characteristics and grown in size. Already not the most popular insect on Earth, mosquitoes are about to be vilified even more with the imminent arrival of the Zika virus (ZIKV), which is spread by the Natty Morgan of mosquitoes, the Aedes aegypti.

According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), ZIKV was first noted in 1947 in Zika Forest in Uganda, but the first real outbreak was about 2007 in Micronesia. So far, cases have mostly been recorded in Oceania, Africa and Asia.

Jamaicans first started getting cold sweat when they heard about the virus showing up in Brazil in April this year. Once locals heard the symptoms were similar to dengue, including fever, joint and muscle pain and weakness, it sounded eerily similar to

our 2014 torment, the chikungunya virus (chik-V). The health ministry then sent blood-pressure readings through the roof when they imparted that ZIKV was reported in the Dominican Republic.

 

TRYING TOEASEFEARS

 

Many persons are still complaining about the lingering effects of chik-V. Wholesales, supermarkets and pharmacies may do brisk business again selling mosquito destroyers and painkillers. However, health ministry officials have tried to ease the public's fears.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Marion Bullock-DuCasse said ZIKV is not as bad as its 'cousin', especially the long-term effects.

Still, Dr Kevin Harvey, permanent secretary in the ministry, has cautioned Jamaicans to protect themselves by placing mesh on windows and doors, using mosquito repellents and insecticides containing DEET, and wearing protective clothing.

Yesterday, ministry officials said they have developed covers for persons to put over their drums. The covers will prevent mosquitoes from entering and exiting the drums, but residents can still collect water.

The ministry has also published schedules for fogging to be done, but remember the fogging only kills the adult mosquitoes; it's the eggs that require execution. Mosquitoes love stagnant water more than Brazilians love football, so punch holes in cans, fill pots and pans with sand, and properly dispose of old tyres.

Interestingly, studies have shown that ZIKV can be transmitted via sexual intercourse, so if you're hoping for a little 'Vitamin S', using a condom might be a good idea. In the event you do contract ZIKV, take heart from one thing: no fatal cases have been reported.

daviot.kelly@gleanerjm.com